ALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A transgender student will be the first ever from Allen High School to have their adopted first name read during graduation on Friday.
The school district made an exception to a rule that only birth names of graduates can be read during the ceremony.
This decision comes only three days before the ceremony for 1,500 Allen High School seniors.
One of them is a transgender male who convinced the district with the help of a petition drive to make an exception to a rule about using birth names when graduates walk across the stage.
“I’m more excited than I was before. All the stress is gone,” said Jay Alfie.
The teenager had the grades and even the cap and gown photo but had to wait until three days before graduation for the school district to approve using the transgender student’s adopted first name which he’s had since beginning his transition from female to male as a freshman.
The Allen Independent School District announced Tuesday night that it would honor Alfie’s request to be called by his chosen male name rather than his birth name.
It’s the first time the district has made an exception that came after our news story over the weekend and 6,000 people signed a petition in support of the student.
The 18-year-old Allen High School senior has been in the process of legally changing his name since he began his transition.
The teenager had the grades and even the cap and gown photo but had to wait until three days before graduation for knowing what name would be called during the ceremony.
“Just shows how far I’ve come especially this year and to me knowing that I’m being called down by who I am just makes me feel better about myself,” said Alfie. “(It) makes me know that everything I’ve done and accomplished this year was worth it.”
Allen ISD’s superintendent Dr. Scott Niven told CBS11 in a statement:
The school district’s practice at Allen High School graduation is to read the student’s legal name at the ceremony. This allows for consistency as the names of our 1,556 graduates are read. The practice of reading a student’s legal name at graduation is not specific to transgender students. It also applies to nicknames and names that are commonly used in place of the student’s legal name during the school year. If a student’s name is legally changed, the school district will make those changes accordingly.
The Alfie family has been in the process of obtaining a legal name change for several months. Due to circumstances beyond the family’s control, the legal process will not be completed before graduation on June 1. Therefore, since the family has filed legal papers to change the name, the request to change the name at graduation will be honored.