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The father of a transgender high school senior has started a petition addressed to Fort Wayne, Ind., Homestead High School Principal Park Ginder asking that his child's preferred name, Wyatt, be read at graduation as opposed to his deadname, which the school administration insists on reading because of an "unwritten standard."
Wyatt's dad, Brian Thomas, set the goal for the Change.org petition at 5,000 signatures on Tuesday, and by Wednesday afternoon it was up to more than 4,200 signatures.
The petition implores the administration to please respect Wyatt's identity and call him by his preferred name, which he has been using since the summer between his freshman and sophomore years.
"My transgender child is a senior this year and will graduate in early June. He has been going by his preferred name since the summer between his freshman and sophomore year. Teachers, pastors, managers, family and friends know him as a boy named Wyatt. But at graduation, because of an unwritten standard the school administration is unwilling to change, he will be called by his dead name," Thomas wrote on the petition.
"What is meant to be a celebration will instead be yet another moment of humiliation and embarrassment."
"As Wyatt's parents, we ask that our wishes be honored on behalf of our precious child. Call the name he will bear legally once the lengthy process of a name change is complete. Call him what his future university calls him. Call him what we and many others call him every day. Call him Wyatt," Thomas continued.
People who signed the petition also left messages of support for Wyatt and called out the administration for its discriminatory unwritten policy.
"As a fellow mom of a trans teen in Fort Wayne, and a mental health provider, this is dangerous as well as disrespectful," Jenna Shock of Fort Wayne said.
Wyatt's sibling Ty wrote, "My brother deserves this. He's worked hard to find himself these past few years, and being called by his preferred name would be a symbolic culmination of his high school years."
"No one gets to decide what to call someone else except one's parents at birth. To dictate what anyone's name is against their will is petty, unnecessary and purposefully hateful and cruel," signer AmberLee Dingess said.
"The school is being ridiculous and disrespectful. They lose nothing for acknowledging Wyatt's identity," Reneylda Rastiana wrote. "How can they be responsible for educating and nurturing the children of today and tomorrow when they're still stubbornly stuck in the past?"