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Indiana School Apologizes After Deadnaming Trans Girl And Putting Her On List For Homecoming King Candidates

ABC21 WPTA/YouTube

A transgender student said she feels like there is no “hope for the future” after a high school listed her dead name as a candidate for Homecoming King.

A person’s dead name refers to the name of someone who is transgender before they transitioned, and is also described as a “birth name” or “given name.”

Grace Grabner is a senior at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Grabner identifies as female, and has for the past six years.

She was horrified to find her dead name included with names of other male students on a homecoming list that was distributed to the school’s 2,500 students.

You can watch the news report on the incident here.

Even though the school administration removed Grabner’s name from the list at the insistence of her mother, she is considering transferring to another school to finish her senior year.

Grabner told WPTA:

“It was embarrassing and it took me back to middle school and remind me of everything that happened in middle school and how people treated me.”

Lizette Downey, a Northwest Allen County Schools spokeswoman, explained the mistake was a computer error and that the school accepted full responsibility.

Downey told the news outlet:

“We made a mistake on our end and we apologize profusely that this error happened where we inadvertently took one student who should have been on one list and put them on the opposite list.”

“That was our responsibility and our fault, and we feel terrible about it.”

Grabner wants the school to address the bullying culture associated with transgender and non-binary students and the lack of support for marginalized youth.

“I think we need to work on that as a school and as a community, we need to work on making a safer place for queer youth and LGBT+ people.”

Grabner’s childhood friend and Carroll High School alumni Olivia Haggard started an online petition to support Grabner and raise awareness for transphobia.

Haggard told WFFT:

“Not only was it to raise awareness about what happened with Grace but it was to open the discussion and show Carroll that it’s not okay.”

Haggard said the school’s use of Grabner’s dead name is harmful and could potentially be a fatal mistake.

“Who knows if they’re depressed or considering suicide. This could’ve been the last straw for Grace.”

According to Haggard, Carroll High School has a history of “invalidating its LGBTQ+ community,” including preventing transgender students from using appropriate bathrooms and “intercepting the advertisement of GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club meetings.”

Grabner added:

“Get people to notice how wrong this behavior is. Because it’s important for people to know how insensitive it is for anybody older or younger than me to experience.”

Grabner is currently in the process of legally changing her name.

Koh Mochizuki

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1