Transgender Student Told He Cannot Run for Prom King

Sierra Stambaugh came to an important realization a few years ago: She identified as a male:

Sierra cut her hair short, and her mom bought her men’s pants. She changed her name to Issak Wolfe and has used it ever since, with full parental support.

As you might expect, that change hasn’t been easy for him, but it could’ve been far worse. For the most part, his classmates and teachers have been pretty respectful.

Now, Issak is a senior at Red Lion Area Senior High School (Pennsylvania), and he was in the running to become Prom King… but things went haywire last week:

With his friends around him last Wednesday in the cafeteria ready to vote, they realized his name was on the ballot, but on the wrong side.

Issak was listed as Sierra Wolfe, prom queen candidate.

Administrators weren’t in the office, so Issak said he spoke with a guidance counselor and other staff. That’s when he was told principal Mark Shue had decided to switch Issak to Sierra and list him on the prom queen side.

“[Principal Mark Shue] said the king was always a male and the queen was always a female. And he feels that’s the way it should be,” [father] William Stambaugh said.

The Superintendent didn’t help, either:

Red Lion Superintendent Scott Deisley, in a written statement on behalf of Shue and the district, declined to comment Tuesday morning, stating it would be best for the safety and well-being of Red Lion students to “respect our privacy in this matter.”

The message would have been more honest if it just said, “Stop talking about this. It makes us look bad.”

The votes have already been cast, so it doesn’t look like Issak will achieve his goal of becoming Prom King, but he’d still like an apology from the administration for how they handled this.

His sister actually posted a much more heartfelt version of this story online:

Issak (second from left)

I have a brother Issak, who is transgender, transitioning from female to male. I am so proud at how far he’s come and the progress he’s made. His friends and family all love and support him, yet on a daily basis he faces the discrimination that comes with being transgender, especially in our high school. I remember Issak almost didn’t want to go to Prom his senior year because of the shit he might have to put up with. When I heard that he was going to Prom and running for Prom King I was so proud and happy for him. He had a lot of people of the senior class who would have voted for him, and he might have even won, except for one thing: the principal would not allow it.

There’s a lot of Facebook love (like?) for Issak, too.

But Issak is doing a very courageous thing by allowing this story to go public. If he can’t convince his administration to do the right thing, then let’s shine some light on their bigotry. Force the principal and the superintendent to defend their ignorance or promise never to make the same mistake again.

At the very least, if you’d like to send them emails (politely, respectfully) explaining why they made the wrong decision, just click on those links. I’m sure they would love to hear from you…

(Thanks to Nick for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • SeekerLancer

    I wonder if the school was receiving any outside pressure to pull this. If everyone was being respectful to Isaac’s wishes before this happened then it seems rather random for them to suddenly do this.

    • Prezombie

      I would say a big part of it would be that in most aspects of his schooling, it was seen as ‘just a phase’. The biggest litmus test would be how they dealt with his gym classes, and which side he was placed during the gender-segregated gym events.

      My guess is that in the case of the principal/super/whoever who did it changing the ballot, likely they were being passive rather than respectful, or they wouldn’t have seen the ballot as a chance to reinforce gender-sex norms.

      • Gus Snarp

        Gender-segregated gym events? I know locker rooms are gender segregated, but from my view, gym events shouldn’t be gender segregated. Maybe there’s something I’m not thinking of? Does this happen? I don’t recall any of my gym classes or events being gender segregated outside of the locker room, and that was twenty years ago.

        • SeekerLancer

          When I was in high school in the early 2000′s at least, certain Gym sports, usually highly athletic ones like basketball, were indeed segregated. Most games weren’t though.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    He looks very depressed in the first picture. Couldn’t they have found a more happy picture to use for the story?

    • 1kRider

      You would be depressed if you were insane as well.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        You’re being quite the nasty little piece of shit towards Issak. Christian, eh?

        • 1kRider

          What does my faith, or lack of, have to do with the fact that you people are insane and need therapy. I never said being gay or lesbian is wrong. I don’t believe we choose who we are attracted to. We also don’t choose our sex. You are born a man or a woman. Deal with it and your insanity. Don’t force me to play along with it.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            You’re right, we don’t choose our sex. Sex is chromosomes. We can, however, be born with our gender and our sex at odds. Sex is male/female. Gender is man/woman. A person born with a penis can feel female and wish to be seen as female by everyone else. She can want to have breasts and a vagina like other women, while not wanting to develop facial hair and other outward signs of being male. Fortunately, with modern medicine, we have hormones and surgery to achieve this. It’s a long, painful process though- do you really think people would go through it for funzies? They do it because the alternative -being trapped in a body that feels wrong and looks wrong- is unbearable.

          • Foxtrot

            I’m honestly curious. Why do you accept the experiences of gays and lesbians, but not those of transgender people? What makes a gay person saying “yes, most men are happy dating women, that’s just wrong for me though, I could only be happy dating a man” so different in your mind from a trans person saying “yes most people with bodies like mine are happy being women, that’s just wrong for me though, I could only be happy being a man”?

          • Leonidas

            Hey, dipshit. I’ll explain this once. The psychiatric community at large recognizes medical transition as the only cure for transsexuality. MRI scans support the theory of a brain/body mismatch. My therapist, and all reputable therapists, support transition for trans people. And insanity is a legal definition, not a medical one.
            I don’t know why I’ve bothered explaining this, since I’m using poly-syllabic words and you’ve proven your inability to read, desire to troll, and the fact that your SAT score landed you in the square root club.

            • Tweekus

              I was going to make a funny joke about your awesome insult at the end, but it just wouldn’t add up to much.

            • 1kRider

              I love you how you insane (transgender( people like to pretend anyone who doesn’t want to play along with your sick fantasy are unintelligent or uneducated. I am neither. But, keep pretending and denying reality. It seems that you have a lot of practice doing both. Any society that supports this insanity is pathetic. Next, you people will be crying out for rights for pedophiles. You are all insane an need therapy. I hope you get it and learn to accept yourselves for what you are…..whatever you were born as.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gabby-Parsons/1591884120 Gabby Parsons

                You are the one that needs to learn to accept that there are people who are different than you. You really don’t know why a person feels transgendered and with your attitude, you will never understand it. So what? How does this affect your life in any meaningful way? Live and let live.

            • 1kRider

              I disagree with you, your therapist, and anyone who would like to con people into believing this nonsense. You are legally and medically insane. You are born what you are. Feel free to romantically pursue whatever turns you own, be it a man or a woman. But, don’t force your insanity on me.
              I know it’s easier for you to pretend I am stupid or uneducated than for you to accept the harsh reality than you are insane. I empathize because each and every one has their own personal issues. I wish you the best with yours. But, hear the truth: You are born what you are and anything other than that is just insanity. I wish you the best and I hope you get the therapy that you need and you learn to accept yourself for what you are.

        • 1kRider

          How sad and narrow minded for you criticize an entire faith because of whatever you have experienced with a certain person. You people act like you above everyone intellectually, morally, etc. You are no better, or worse, than anyone else, you just are insane if you cannot accept the body you were born in. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
          If a dog thought he was a fish born as a dog, what would happen if he swam to the bottom of the river. He would drown. Medically implanting a scuba system in the dog would still not make the dog a fish. This whole conversation is ridiculous. You people are insane and make the sane feel uncomfortable asking us to play along with your insanity.
          Get therapy and get better. Good luck.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        Again, someone being trans is not a form of insanity.

        Depression does often result from someone being unable to express their gender identity or from their gender identity being stigmatized or unrecognized by society. Simply put: _your words are wrong and hurt people_.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    the transgender community is the only one in this country to have to take more shit than the atheist community.

    keep fighting, Issak!

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Promenades, kings and queens, popularity contests… It’s all dumb shit to me, but this is about people who find it important. My only objection is that, if gender is to be disregarded in a such a contest, then I don’t see any point in having gender-specific titles. Call them “prom winners,” and have as many or as few as you like. This easily resolves any issues with gender. Why should it be one man, and one woman anyway?

    • Kengi

      Issak and his supporters aren’t asking for gender to be “disregarded”. I think you have the same misconception about gender being nothing more than the existence or absence of a penis that the school officials have.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        Perhaps my understanding is skewed. If you’re willing, please share your own ideas of what gender means. I’ll gladly consider it.

        • Kengi

          Gender involves the social and behavioral roles in a culture relating to masculinity and femininity.

          It’s not the sex of an individual, which itself can sometimes be indeterminate at birth. In such situations even sex is determined with an arbitrary decision, which then has gender implications since those social and behavioral roles get reinforced by caregivers.

          Gender is cultural and personal. Sex is usually, but not always, a simple fact of plumbing. And that’s not even getting into the chemistry such as chromosomes or hormones and other biological issues with sex determination, so “simple” is a relative word in that sentence.

          • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

            So then, it’s possible for a person to have, for example, male sex and female gender?

            • RowanVT

              Absolutely possible. I dormed with such an individual in college. She’s a delightful person. I also have two cousins who were born with pseudohermaphrodism and both were assigned ‘female’ at birth and “clipped” to fit that designation. One of those cousins identifies as female. The other identifies as male and is quite angry at his parent’s decision.

              • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                Very interesting. I’m learning. Thanks for sharing.

            • Kengi

              Yup. As RowanVT pointed out the relationship between a person’s sex and gender can be complex, especially when dealing with intersex people. Even when sex isn’t in question, gender roles, gender identification, gender morphology, and gender comportment can complicate the situation further.

              That’s why the final word on Issak’s gender can only come from Issak. The school administration needs to understand this.

              • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                This may be an impertinent question, but I’m considering application. When I see “king” defined as a male authority; when I see “boy” defined as a male child; when I see “men” on a bathroom door, should I be thinking about gender rather then sex?

                • RowanVT

                  Yes, actually. Take that dorm mate of mine. While she was transitioning, but before actual surgery, she already looked more feminine than I do. I used to tease her that she, just from hormones, had better boobs and hips than I did. So imagine this beautiful, rather curvy woman. She still has some male ‘equipment’. Does she really belong in the “mens” bathroom?

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  I’m not sure if I can answer that, or how to answer that. If I make a judgement based on the appearance of boobs, hips, and curves, then I’d be guilty of examining what I see, which is not necessarily what the person feels.

                  I think it would somewhat less problematic for a curvy, boobed penis owner to enter a men’s bathroom than it would for a bearded, muscular vagina owner to enter a woman’s bathroom. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the general public would object to both, regardless of how the transgendered person (correct label?) personally identified. While none of this would bother me, I know this is a sensitive issue for many.

                • RowanVT

                  I should have added “If she identifies as female…” It’s problematic either way, which is why gendered bathrooms can be a problem and there should always be a gender-neuteral option. But some people would insist, because of the plumbing, that my friend belonged in the ‘mens’ bathroom, despite the sort of harassment she’d face.

                • Kengi

                  The problem in the general public won’t be due to actual issues such as bathroom use, but do to bigoted views on transgendered people. I’ve used unisex bathrooms for decades. Many others who have used unisex bathrooms in the past will all of a sudden become concerned about the “wrong” people using “their” bathrooms.

                  I’ve also used unisex bathroom/shower areas. They are very common in college dorms. If you aren’t familiar with them, they basically are large bathrooms with all stalls instead of stalls plus rows of urinals for men, and showers with doors.

                  Locker rooms would be more of an issue, but as has been mentioned, there can easily be areas set up to be gender neutral in such environments.

                  This won’t be an issue unless bigots make it an issue.

            • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

              Yup. I know a woman who was in that boat for over 50 years. She struggled and struggled, lived with depression, attempted suicide more than once. Her name was “Tim” back then. I’ve never seen a photo of “Tim” smiling. Tim married, had children, loved them, loved his wife despite problems between them, but he could never make it as far as “happy” and he could never quite make life work. It took him decades to admit to himself that he wasn’t a “him” after all.
              Tim lived in Canada, where sexual reassignment surgery is available, but takes quite awhile to get and requires signoffs from medical professionals who believe that the candidate is ready for transition and absolutely committed to it. So Tim became (fake name) “Brigid.” Tim lived as Brigid for over a year before surgery. Brigid smiles in every photo. Brigid’s life isn’t always easy, but Brigid copes with life in ways that “Tim” just never could. Brigid speaks about “Tim” as a different person, a role that she played for years. She doesn’t hate Tim, but she pities him and is glad to stop playing his role in life.

              So now Brigid identifies as female and shows no physical signs that she ever had male sex, but she spent a lot longer as a female with a male body.

              (Brigid is old enough to be my mother, and as unfair as the treatment of Issak has been, Brigid’s younger years were like a different world compared to the libertine libertarian paradise of 2013. It wasn’t a question of how to come out and demand fair treatment, to “Tim,” but a question of how to hide and stem persistent thoughts and feelings that “he” thought were abhorrent just as much as anyone else did.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Masters-Hiatt/1089954620 Elizabeth Masters Hiatt

      But gender is not being disregarded. Isaak is a boy.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        A boy by what standard? I don’t mean to argue. I’m genuinely curious.

        • Quintin van Zuijlen

          By his own standard I suppose.

        • jeanp

          By no objective standard. Her mind will not acknowledge reality. How is this different from people who are convinced they are Napoleon?

          • Charles Honeycutt

            How about the fact that transgender people are able to function in society?

            How about that their brains actually function according to their proclaimed gender?

            How about that the brain is at least as important as the rest of the body in determining gender, and is the only part that determines how the person feels?

            You might want to read up on a medical subject before ignorantly condemning people over it.

          • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

            What reality should this kid acknowledge? What part of reality is it that you think he doesn’t understand? Are you suggesting that he doesn’t realize that he was born with female genitalia and a female endocrine system? That wasn’t the impression I got.

        • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

          By acclamation from the only person in a position to know for sure.

          • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

            In order to know something, you first have to understand the meaning of the thing you supposedly know. There has to be some agreed upon definition of the word “male” in order for the statement “I am male” to be a meaningful statement. So it might be true that Isaak is the only person who knows whether or not he is male, but it’s still legitimate to ask what he means by the word “male”. What criteria is he using to make this determination?

            • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

              What do I care what his criteria for his male identity are? It’s not up to me. I’m not in charge his life. He’s in charge of this decision no matter who doesn’t like it. You don’t have to like it, but it’s not up to you, either. You don’t have to understand it, either, because it’s not your problem or mine.
              It’s legitimate to ask, but not to demand an answer, and not to demand an answer or else his identity is somehow illegitimate. If his definition of what it means to be male turned out to be totally different from yours or mine, that wouldn’t make any difference, and things that don’t make any difference are irrelevancies.

              • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

                But words are only as good as their definitions. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be in charge of the decision, and I’m not saying that I don’t like it. I’m just pointing out a basic feature of language, which is that words only communicate ideas to the extent that everyone involved in the communication understands the meaning of the words. If his definition of male is different from yours or mine, that is okay; but if that’s the case, then his statement “I am male” doesn’t tell me anything, unless he further specifies what he means by the word “male”.

                • Kengi

                  Are you being purposely obtuse? Of course saying “I am male” means something without having to interrogate me, or anyone else, about our personal, precise definitions of the words used.

                  It’s up to you to understand the words used by others, and stay up-to-date on current usages. You are also the one responsible for understanding the context in which those words are used to determine meaning.

                  When speaking about gender, being male or female, in today’s society, people are generally talking about the social roles people take and not sex. This becomes perfectly clear when the discussion is in the context of transgender rights.

                  Now, before you respond to anything, I require you to provide your personal perspective (not just the dictionary text) on the meanings of the following words you used:

                  definitions
                  decision
                  statement
                  male
                  specifies
                  different
                  language
                  his

                  After all, your post doesn’t tell me anything unless you further specify what you mean by those words!

        • Tweekus

          I see where you’re coming from, M6. However, the thing is this: Isaak may have some wierd plumbing, but he is a boy in all but that. The thing about this case is that the administration is failing to see Isaak for what he is. Instead, they’re just seeing him for what he should be, in their eyes.

          • Stev84

            He is transgender. Not intersex. Transgender people don’t usually have ambiguous genitalia or reproductive organs.

            • Tweekus

              I think you misunderstood me, but that’s ok, looking back at it, i did kinda get my murds wixed up.

            • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

              I think all Tweekus was saying was that if Issak hasn’t made a physical, surgical transition, then he’s currently a boy with “some weird plumbing.” In other words, he’s a boy because he identifies as male, but yes, sure, he’s got female “plumbing.” I think Tweekus’ point was probably that it’s absurd to look at a person forthrightly declaring, “I feel like a boy, I think like a boy, pretending to be a girl makes me miserable, so I’m a boy!” and respond by declaring “Penis or GTFO.”
              They’re ignoring the most important aspect and obsessing over the least. By their definition, I’d lose some large, measurable amount of my male identity if I survived testicular cancer without my testicles. . . all of it if I lost the penis, too.

              • Tweekus

                Essentially, yeah. That’s what i was trying to get at.

          • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

            But . . . but . . . but, VAGINA! Vaginas are prom queens, and penises are prom kings. That’s just how it is! And if that’s how it is, then obviously we can’t change it, or it won’t be how it is anymore, it’ll be how it isn’t!
            That’s just anarchy.

  • A3Kr0n

    No, she can’t go as a “king”. Just how far do you take this? Should I be cutting off my penis now to prove my all-inclusiveness?

    • entropy

      Please never have children or talk to children, you bigoted moron.

    • Houndentenor

      Why not? He identifies as male. Let the students decide who to vote for. If they want someone else, fine. If they pick him, fine too. Why do people freak out so over gender issues?

    • Question Everything

      Seriously, what? Who would ask you to cut off any portion of your anatomy, and why?

      This teen identifies as male. They aren’t asking everyone to identify as male, or female, or whatever it is that you’re implying. He’s just asking for those around him to respect his identity. How is that a burden on you to the level of self mutilation as you seem to state?

      • Curious

        So does she/he plan to have sex with girls?

        • nkendall

          Not only is that an extremely personal question, but one that never needs to be answered to justify anything.

        • ThatGuy

          Why does that matter? Guys don’t have to have sex with girls to be guys. If he identifies as a male then there was no reason for them to put him down for prom queen.

        • John

          What does that have to do with anything at all? Especially considering gender identity and sexual orientation are completely separate things.

        • Question Everything

          Rather inappropriate, I must say. And a question that has nothing at all to do with the issue. But let’s run with it. Does he have to have sex prom night to be prom king? Does someone ever have to have sex in order to be male or female? What happens if, for various physical reasons like surgeries or paralysis or getting older, they can’t have sex anymore – do they stop being male or female at that point?

          But finally – what do you care who any individual has sex with if they’re not in a relationship with you at the time? I fail to see how it impacts your life.

        • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

          That’s what we in the business call a “Nunya.” It’s nunya bidness (or mine.) Seriously, you’re probably a decent enough person, but look at what you just asked. Think about the level of arrogance and entitlement it implies, that you think you’re entitled to demand to know this kid’s sexual preference as a condition before you might approve of his gender.
          It’s also irrelevant.

    • Psychotic Atheist

      Is there some negative consequence for a community of peers to subvert your notions of ‘kingship’ by jointly voting for someone who was born female but now identifies as male in what is essentially a popularity contest of no particular consequence (except in the individual’s involved personal life story), that I’m unaware of?

      How far do we take allowing pupils to vote whoever they like into whatever arbitrary social titles they choose? All the way. Lesbian? Sure! Black? No problem! Jew, if you like. If we invent artificially intelligent beings, let them be Prom whatever. ET Alien? Why not? It should not have to be justified to include people in this American coming of age ceremony, excluding them is what requires the justification, and it usually comes down to something akin to ‘but, you know ‘King!’ and so forth!’.

      The only reason he ‘can’t’ is because a person in authority arbitrarily ruled it thusly, and for undisclosed reasons you seem to agree. If the authority had not intervened, he would be able to go as ‘king’. Indeed, Andii Viveros could be Prom Queen (and was), despite her genetic situation.

      And naturally, if you cut off your penis that would prove you are all-inclusive. No need to include others in things order to make that point, nossir.

      • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

        This. Boys ran for Prom Queen in my small town in 1996. They weren’t trans (and they didn’t win) but they were high school kids and they wanted to be “outrageous” and “shocking.” Town’s still there. . . . but the high school was damaged by a tornado in 2006 OH MY GOD . . .

    • peon

      While your first sentence might have merit in a discussion, I have no idea what you mean by your second.

    • Goatless

      I’ll tell you how far this should be taken. It should be taken to the point that a male student should be able to run for Prom King and a female student should be able to run for Prom Queen.
      It shouldn’t matter what biology is involved, if somebody identifies as male then they are male regardless of what is going on inside their pants. Likewise, if somebody identifies as female then they are female.
      As for you and I, people who are not transgender, we don’t have to do anything because we were lucky enough to be born with our genders corresponding to the bits in our pants. You certainly don’t have to cut your penis off. What we can do is offer support and make sure we use the correct pronouns.
      Like referring to a male student as ‘he’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

      For you? Sounds like a good idea, that way you can’t procreate.

    • Sven2547

      Right-wing Christians are weird.
      Talk about a trans-guy going to prom, and they talk about cutting off penises.
      Talk about same-sex marriage, and they talk about beastiality.
      Talk about ethics in a secular paradigm, and they talk about murdering and raping people because there’s nothing wrong with it.
      It’s sociopathic, really.

    • Gus Snarp

      He. Not she, he.

    • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

      Did you read that before you hit “Post?”

      We’re not talking about a person you can legitimately refer to with female pronouns like “she,” here. Issak says he’s a boy; Issak is therefore a boy. Neither you nor I have any way to gainsay him on this, because only he knows how he identifies. He *could* lie about it, but we’d never know the difference, and he has no reason to do so, so who cares?

      On the topic of castrating yourself, I don’t see how that would improve your reputation for “all-inclusiveness” after that weirdness, but I guess it couldn’t hurt. Knock yourself out, I guess, but maybe see a doctor first?

    • A3Kr0n

      Why have a prom king and queen to begin with, and just have a prom couple, or prom leaders instead?

      And thank you all for your replies.

      • Kengi

        There’s no reason other than tradition, which is never a good justification for continuing to do something wrong. Yes, it probably would be better to have a “prom couple”.

        This still doesn’t invalidate the fact that Issak should be allowed to run as prom king at his school at this time.

        But the question on everyone’s mind is, did you cut your penis off yet and do you have pictures?

        • A3Kr0n

          I haven’t cut it off yet so no pictures. I’m not sure where that came from. I was imagining everyone in white spandex jumpsuits like in Woody Allen’s Sleeper movie.

    • John (not McCain)

      I think it would be in the best interests of humanity if you went ahead and cut off just about all of you.

      • Thackerie

        i.e., cut off everything … except the penis.

  • lasthop

    I know this is beside the point, I’m curious to know if he won, even being on the girl ballot. It might say something about his peers…

  • Taz

    If you allow this, then soon you’ll have to allow non-transgendered people to run for King and Queen, and you could end up with a male Queen and a female King, or a male Queen and male King, or a female Queen and female King. And do you know what the consequences of that would be? Do you?
    No seriously, I’m asking. Do you? Because I’ll be damned if I can think of any.

    • jeanp

      I don’t really care to live in a world without defined sex (not gender) roles. It’s ridiculous to have a male Queen or a female King. What is the point of words, then? Do not words have meaning?

      • RowanVT

        There was a lovely set of young adult fantasy novels I read wherein the dragons of the story had a King and a Queen. The King was a female dragon, and the current Queen happened to be male. And this was because the jobs were completely different. The King was always the leader/ruler of the dragons, no matter which sex.

        Are you also upset at male nurses? How about women who are actors? What is so important about denoting the male and female in a job title?

      • Taz

        Right, because calling them the prom “king” and “queen” are in no way stretching the meaning of those words.

        Do you expect them to produce an heir to rule the kingdom of “Prom”?

        • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

          OOH! I think you’re on to something here.
          We could have wars about whether the Catholic or Protestant Prom Princesses were legitimate heirs. It’ll be retro.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        It’s also important to call women actors “actresses” right? Because otherwise HOW WILL PEOPLE KNOW

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        I’d go with getting rid of prom royalty entirely. It’s a fairly silly concept anyway.

      • Tom

        Words change with the times. Or they die. Time was (roughly before Mary I and Elizabeth I, in my particular neck of the woods), a queen was a different beast to a king. These days, in all practical terms, a queen basically *is* a “female king.” So no, it’s not really ridiculous at all.

    • Houndentenor

      The students would elect whoever they wanted for King and Queen. that would be the result of letting anyone run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tyro-Kathar/1539781848 Tyro Kathar

    He would have made such a handsome king!

  • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

    Arbitrary and capricious snap decisions made without telling anyone are normally such a good way to run a school that it’s weird how this one seems to have turned out badly for the principal. Huh.

    And this is really minor, I guess, but it was jarring to notice that they changed Issak’s name back (Why? Because natal females are ineligible for Prom King–somehow–AND for the name “Issak?”) but not all the way . . . the last name stays?
    Actually, I think I just answered my own question. The first name “Issak” is arguably gendered, while the surname “Wolfe” isn’t, so they’ll let him have that one, I guess. Weird, weird, weird.
    A situation like this would have been a good time for tenured faculty to help this principal out with some friendly advice behind closed doors while he still has a chance to be remembered as “the principal who overcame his initial misgivings and did the right thing in the end.”

  • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

    How much further is this going to be taken? Before you know it, there’ll be Nerds running for “Most Popular,” and Stoners and Greasers running for “Most Likely to Succeed,” and some Soc girl will want to date some Greaser boy and there’ll be a big brawl and somebody’ll get killed or something!
    Man, just keep to your cliques and stay golden, man. That’s what high school is all about.

    • Thackerie

      Hey! I WAS a stoner in high school, and I WAS voted “most likely to succeed.” Of course, I was also president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Stereotypes were beginning to lose their importance even back in the 1970s. I hope we’ve made more progress since then.

  • 1kRider

    If you want to be a lesbian, that’s your business. But, forcing everyone to pretend you are a boy is ridiculous and unconstitutional. If you need surgery to be happy, you are insane.

    • Tweekus

      How is it unconstitutional to express yourself the way you want to be? That’s like saying that it’s unconstitutional to be a christian. Some people are born as one gender but do identify as another gender. It’s not them requiring surgery to be happy, it’s them wanting to be what they feel they should be. He’s probably a very sane young person. However, as someone who has to deal with similar issues, i find your post and lack of research on the subject to be disturbing. Hatred for the sake of hatred is never good.

      • 1kRider

        I identify as a king. So, for now on, everyone must refer to me a KING 1k Rider. Do you know how ridiculous you sound? Get therapy and do not expect, or even ask, for the sane to play along with your insane charades.

        If this girl wants to date women, good for her. That’s her business. But, surgery or asking everyone to pretend her fantasy is real is INSANE.

        • RobMcCune

          Get therapy and do not expect, or even ask, for the sane to play along with your insane charades.

          Does that apply to your insane biological determinism charade?

          • 1kRider

            Arguing against biology is ridiculous. You can’t. A boy, who want to sleep with boys, is still a boy. It doesn’t matter what he wants to pretend, or try to make others pretend with him. Get therapy. You are insane.

            • RowanVT

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

              This is what runs through my head whenever I read any of your comments.

              • Tweekus

                IF i had the ability to, i’d have your children, y’know that? Best scene EVAR!!!

            • RobMcCune

              It doesn’t matter what he wants to pretend… Get therapy. You are insane.

              Says the guy wanting to play psychologist.

        • RowanVT

          A king is a job description. Male and female (or neither, or both), however, are not job descriptions. They are an intrinsic part of how we view our Selves. I was born female, and I feel female. But my family has told me that, based on my behaviour, they wouldn’t have been surprised to learn if I identified as male. *I* consider my behaviour ‘feminine’ because I’m female but very few others would.

          I dormed with a transgendered woman in college. She was certain more typically feminine than I have ever been. She certainly wasn’t insane. She’s terribly intelligent, and a fabulous voice actress which is how she makes a living now.

          YOU are the one with a problem here. You find the concept icky and inconceivable, so your only response is to declare mental illness. Because you can’t handle it and so don’t want anyone else to be fine with it either. Grow up.

          • 1kRider

            I don’t have the problem. I am not insane. Your roomate is insane and you are an enabler. Why can’t she love herself for the lesbian she is and you accept her?

            • RowanVT

              Thank you for using the correct pronouns for my dorm mate… who was born with a penis but identifies as a woman. That’s surprisingly kind of you, considering your vehemence. I also never said you were insane.

              My dorm mate is in a wonderful relationship (with a woman!) after having had her reassignment surgery 6 years ago. She has a steady and successful career. Clearly she is not insane, for the insane cannot function.

              Your incredible phobia of the unusual however is definitely very clear. Maybe some therapy might help you with that.

            • John (not McCain)

              That must have been one hell of a disease-ridden slut you fell out of.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                Please stop the sexist insults, and also the racist ones you have made elsewhere.

        • Tweekus

          As someone who identifies as transgendered, i think you’re a mucking foron. But that’s beside the point. Your short-sighted bigotry only lets you see what other small minded people tell you, apparently.

          If you read ANY medical journals and hell, did any research, you’d know that every “fact” you’ve brought up is false. I identify as a woman, but i’m forced to dress, and act like a man due to where i live. I’m perfectly sane, and believe it or not, no one has to pretend that i’m a woman or a man, mainly because they accept that i’m still the same crazy person that brings them joy and happiness, no matter what i look or act like.

          Saying that people who identify as transgendered are insane is a slap in the face. We aren’t insane. We just want to live life how we want to. You don’t have a right to tell us that we can’t do that, just as much as we can’t tell you that you can’t have your own lifestyle. No one wants to make you do anything, the Transgendered community just want to live how we want to live.

          It’s people like you that force people like me to hide, with fear of being ostracized, or worse, KILLED. Take your bigotry somewhere else. you make me sick.

          (To the mods, I apologise for this. To 1kRider, i don’t)

          • 1kRider

            I don’t want to kill you. I recognize you as an insane person you are and I hope you get the therapy that you need. Don’t try to insult my intelligence or force your insanity on me. Get therapy.

            • Tweekus

              An insane person will kill people to sate the wishes of his nonexistent god. An insane person will claim that the only way to be moral is to follow a 2000 year old book of Faerie tales. An insane person will kill someone for stepping on their flowers. I’m not insane. I’m eccentric. I’m silly, to the point of goofy. But as a person, i’m not insane. What you think as insane was originally thrown into the classification of a mental illness with homosexuality. Both have been taken out of that classification. It’s not a mental illness that causes people to be female gendered but be born in the body of a man. (As a person with five mental health professionals in my family, i’ve got certifications, yo.)

              Now, i know you’re just going to try to refute my statements with the same, lame, closed-minded excuse for a rebuttal. Please don’t. Save yourself the trouble and just go to a different post. I’m sick and tired of looking at your bigotry. I know you’re stuck in your ways, and i feel bad for you in that way only. Quit insulting people who just want to live their lives in peace. You may think them insane, but they might just have the right ideas to make this place a better place for everyone.

      • 1kRider

        Hate? I don’t hate you. I recognize that you are insane, I pity you, and I hope you get therapy. I feel sorry for you, but don’t try to force your insanity on me for forced me to play your insane games.

        • Tweekus

          You may not hate me personally, but you show hatred for transgendered people in general.

          • Pepe

            He’s used the word ‘insane’ SO many times that it’s actually making me insane.

            • Tweekus

              Crazy, huh?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      If he wanted to be a lesbian, he’d identify as a female who was sexually attracted to other females. Since he identifies as male, that means he’s not a lesbian but rather transgender. Sexual identity and sexual orientation are very different things.

      Also, why does who Issak is attracted to matter at all? Do you ask every man and woman you meet if they like men or women, and then use that to assign them their gender?

      • 1kRider

        “Identify”? You people are insane. You are born a male or a female. You choose you want to be romantically involved with. If you need surgery to be happy, you are INSANE. Asking society to pretend you are something that you are not is INSANITY. You need therapy.

        • RobMcCune

          You are born a male or a female.

          Therefore all must conform to your idea of what gender is, or else they are trampling your constitutional rights.

          • 1kRider

            It’s not MY idea. It’s the idea of science and society. Any other idea is insane. Get therapy.

            • RobMcCune

              Well I’m glad you admit you ideas are socially constructed, though it’s rather disturbing you consider anything different from societal norms is “unconstitutional” and “insane.”

              What do you propose be done to “unconstitutionally insane?”

        • Stev84

          You are born a male or a female

          Not necessarily. There are people with ambiguous genitalia and/or reproductive organs. There are people with chromosomal abnormalities. There are women with XY chromosomes who don’t react to testosterone and thus developed female. There are even very rare cases of genetic mosaics with both XY and XX chromosomes in the same body.

          In many cases you can tell which one is the “correct” sex at birth. But in others it’s not self-evident and assigning a physical sex at birth can be disastrous. The recommended practice now is to wait until they can talk and see how what they identify as.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Do you identify as either male or female? If so, does it match the body you were born into? I’d guess so, given your posts. Why is it so hard to believe that sometimes, they don’t match?

          People get born into bodies that don’t fit their self-conceptions all the time. The would-be singer who is tone-deaf, the would-be athlete with brittle bones, the would-be painter with color-blindness. Some people are born into bodies that don’t match their perceptions of themselves in all kinds of areas. Why would gender be any different?

          • RowanVT

            This. A thousand times this. Music and singing are so very important to me. I can’t sing, I am tone deaf and with a terrible voice. I want to cry, sometimes, from the wish that I could sing the way I want to.

          • Tweekus

            I fricking love you, Feminerd. This times a thousand. You’ve got the idea. :D

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Thanks! I try to “get it”, but leaving one’s own privilege behind can be tricky.

        • Thackerie

          Apparently, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Why not read up on subjects like this so you can comment intelligently rather than making ignorant assertions?

    • Kengi

      Wow. So much you don’t understand. Start by looking up the difference between sex and gender. Also, I didn’t see any mention of surgery in this article, so I’m not sure why you bring it up.

      Are you just generally angry with surgeons? Are you upset when people get hip or knee surgery so they can lead happy normal lives instead of being in pain and misery?

      As for mental health, you really shouldn’t be throwing stones at others while living in a glass house…

    • Question Everything

      Unconstitutional, how?

      I assume you’re also against breast implants, nose jobs, any cosmetic surgery (even after severe burns), and for that matter, surgery that keeps the person alive, since once can’t be happy when one is dead. Right? Disregarding that this story isn’t about surgery, of course.

    • RobMcCune

      This guy wanting to be in the running for prom king is not trampling your constitutional right to be a transphobic idiot.

      • 1kRider

        You are transgender by choice. Contrary to what BS you try to sling, you are simply insane and need therapy or just accept yourself as the gay or lesbian that you are.

        • RowanVT

          You are apparently unaware that there are transgendered folk who like the same gender they identify as? I knew a transgendered man (born female) who liked men. They felt male, and were gay because of that male identification.

          • RobMcCune

            Haven’t you heard, according to this guy thinking = insanity.

            • Tweekus

              Yeah, i’ve noticed that.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          Incorrect. Gender dysphoria is not a form of insanity, and while it has a large number of causes, it is nor more a choice than my being straight and cisgendered is.

          I invite you to go read the current psychological reference manuals.

      • 1kRider

        I am not phobic against transgenders, or schizophrenics. I recognize both as being insane. I feel bad for them and wish them the best.

        • RobMcCune

          Becoming so offended by the notion of the transgendered having being accepted, or having a modicum of dignity that you go on a tear sputtering barely cogent sentences about insanity does not constitute transphobia?

          Huh, you learn something new every day.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      It’s very sad that you’re ignorant of the fact that gender is a fact of the body, and that the body includes the brain.

      It’s pathetic and sick that you feel the need to take out your ignorance on other people.

      • jose

        “gender is a fact of the body”

        You win the prize to the anti feminist statement of the month.

  • jose

    “Sierra cut her hair short, and her mom bought her men’s pants”

    Today I learned tomboys are men. Actually, no, I don’t believe in legitimizing sexist stereotypes.

    • RowanVT

      What exactly does short hair and men’s pants have to do with being a tomboy? I was born female, I identify as female, I have really long hair. I do tend to wear unisex or more masculine pants simply because women’s pants don’t fit me well. Apparently I’m not supposed to have any muscles in my legs, per women’s pants.

      And I’m also ‘a tomboy’. I love playing in the dirt and climbing trees, even at 30 years old. I’m in a physically demanding job, and I’m the strongest person in the vet clinic, regularly hefting around 100lb dogs. I have an intense dislike of many ‘feminine’ activities and always have. I have a bunch of snakes as pets and regularly get comments of “But you’re a girl!”.

      • jose

        “What exactly does short hair and men’s pants have to do with being a tomboy?”

        Everything. A tomboy is a name for a collection of cultural traits that are associated with boys. It’s a bag full of stereotypes. If sexism was over, tomboys would just be called girls.

        That there are masculine pants, as you call them – that’s sexism. That pant makers make women’s pants thinking women have no muscles in their legs – that’s sexism. They are stereotypes.

        So when this transboy thinks “I’m a boy – therefore I’m going to adopt all the culturally boyish things such as short hair and men’s pants”, he’s legitimizing sexist stereotypes. I have to oppose that.

        • RowanVT

          Men have different crotch requirements than women, plus different hips. My hips are built a little odd for a woman, plus I like to squat a lot rather than sit and so need more room in the crotch of the pants than most women do. I can’t squat with my knees together because I feel like my hips are going to pop out of the socket.
          I don’t like the feel of the extra room in the crotch when I’m standing, but I put up with it because the rest of the range of motion is easier. This is why I use unisex/mens scrubs at work and wear baggy pants when I’m not in scrubs.

          I agree that the way they make women’s pants in the legs is aggravating, but I do also have an unusual amount of muscle in my calves due to a tight calcaneal tendon and naturally walking on the balls of my feet. So pants that would fit most any other woman do not fit me.

          • jose

            Too much information. This just got awkward. :S

  • Prezombie

    What the fuck is with all the trans hate comments here? People calling Transsexuals insane even though they can function fine in society like every other sane person, and building fallacious arguments that somehow link treating someone the way they want to be treated with forced castration or genderless dystopianism, just because someone doesn’t fit your neat binary gender worldview.

    It really saddens me when members of one minority treat another with bigotry, when they often know well what it feels like to be on the receiving end. Did we learn nothing from the dozen other civil rights movements in the history books?

    • Stev84

      They aren’t necessarily atheists. Remember that this blog is hosted on Patheos which hosts many Christian blogs that are full of crazy people. So FA does get the occasional Christian troll.

    • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

      Well . . . . . they aren’t necessarily atheists, but it’s a trap to think you can predict a person’s tolerance for trans or anything else by their religion or lack thereof. Don’t be too quick to assume that anyone who seems to have a prejudice against trans people is a religious visitor. Most religions tend to give people a way to think about LGBT, but atheism really doesn’t. What atheism does is get out of the way so you can judge the issue for yourself, but that doesn’t mean your judgment will necessarily be different from a theist’s judgment. It just means it could be.
      But most of us were still raised in a culture in which LGBT people were seen as icky freaks, or at least I know I was. A lot of us rejected that viewpoint, but others embraced it, and they weren’t all religious.

    • jose

      “People calling Transsexuals insane even though they can function fine in society like every other sane person”

      Oh really. Is that why you always find so many of them saying they NEED their hormones and their surgery because otherwise they hate their bodies and they hate themselves to the point of suicide? Is that why we hear the touching stories about a little 5 years old boy who went to the kitchen to chop off his penis because the little boy identified as a girl and that thing didn’t belong? They tell those stories in order to justify that they have a medical condition that requires treatment and surgery. They are happy to label themselves as ill people who need treatment – as long as it is the specific kind of treatment they like, I guess.

      When a treatment they don’t like is brought up, suddenly they’re all just fine, healthy people who are able to function fine, and suddenly there are no sign of suicidal feelings due to self-hate body problems or anything. Well isn’t that curious.

      • John (not McCain)

        Are you in the United States legally?

      • John (not McCain)

        Are you in the United States legally?

        • jose

          I see you are unable to counter this doublespeak. They argue they have a medical condition whose treatment and surgery should be covered by all insurance programs when it’s convenient, but they are “fine like every other sane person” when the conversation takes a turn they don’t want.

          People like to compare this to homosexuality. But guess what homosexuals really are fine – all their suffering comes from other people treating them badly and discriminating them. They feel absolutely fine about who they are. They don’t hate their own bodies or their own minds to the point of going to the kitchen and attempting to mutilate themselves, like the kid in that supposedly “endearing” story. They don’t attempt suicide out of body hate issues. If people would leave gays the fuck alone, they would have no issue at all. As you see, they can’t be more different from transsexuals and their demands for treatment and surgery.

          • Houndentenor

            No one finds that story “endearing”. However, some of us, unlike you, are capable of empathy and compassion for people whose situation is different from our own. It should be noted that attempts to convince transgender people that they shouldn’t feel the way they do have all be failures. There have been any number of stories about this. Some people are just this way. Let them deal with it the best they can. Calling them insane or insisting they pretend to be something they are not is EXACTLY what society did to gay people 50 years ago. This is just as wrong.

      • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

        Not very, no. You made up the dichotomy between “treatment they like” and “treatment they don’t like.” I doubt you can name a legitimate “treatment they don’t like.” The treatment you label as “the treatment they like” is in fact a treatment that *works,* and is still rejected by many transsexuals because, oddly enough, people do not necessarily “like” major surgeries with difficult recoveries.

        When my son tore his meniscus and his ACL, we opted for surgery. We didn’t do that because there was a working treatment that avoided surgery, but he didn’t “like” it as much as he liked the fun idea of being anesthetized and then spending six weeks on crutches. He’s still on crutches, as a matter of fact, and will be for a couple more weeks, after which he won’t be able to do anything athletic for at least six more weeks. But there should come a day, if all goes well, when he has the ability to walk, run and jump without undue suffering, and *that* is why we accepted surgery with all its drawbacks.

        Your attempt to portray *surgery* as some kind of frivolous fun that transsexuals are unfairly awarded at everyone else’s expense makes you look like a bigot.

  • Michelle

    I have read many posts on various sites on this issue and I’ve yet to see even one positive comment from any student from Red Lion. The repeated statements made in numerous articles have stated how many students are behind “Isaak”. Where are they now? The two comments I did view from Red Lion students stated they were not in favor of this student’s action against the school and supported the principal’s decision. I’d love to hear what these fellow students think about this situation.


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