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Catholic school: Transgender student must wear girl’s graduation gown

Thursday, May 16, 2013
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A transgender student at a Catholic high school in Albuquerque, N.M., says he is has been told he must wear female student gown at his graduation procession, or not walk at all.

Damian Garcia is a senior at St. Pius X High School, where at the graduation ceremony, the girls wear white gowns and the boys wear black.

Damian, who identifies as male and had a legal name change last year, said he’s been told by the school that he must wear the white gown reserved for females, or not participate in the ceremony.

The St. Pius Superintendent told KRQE-TV that that the school goes by what the student’s birth certificate says if there’s any question on what gender-color they wear at graduation.

“I just want to walk in my black robe, nice and proud and have that memory to look back on with my family and friends,” said Damian. “I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe.”

Watch a report from KRQE-TV:

Damian’s father calls the school’s decision heartbreaking.

“All you want in life is to see your kids happy and healthy. You never want to see them suffer or being ridiculed or be made fun of,” he said.

A petition at MoveOn.org is calling on the school to allow Damian to walk for graduation in the male cap and gown. There is also a Facebook page, “Let Damian Walk.”

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