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New Mexico

Transgender student skips graduation rather than wear female gown

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The graduation ceremony at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday was one student short, as a transgender teen refused to participate in the commencement exercises because the school told him he would have to wear a female student gown.

Damian Garcia

Damian Garcia, a graduating senior at St. Pius X who identifies as male and had a legal name change last year, was told by the school officials that he must wear the white gown reserved for females, or not participate in the ceremony.

And so, Garcia elected to stay home.

“I’m fully respecting this and myself by not walking and/or attending the ceremony at all,” Garcia said, in a post Wednesday on Facebook, in which he thanked his supporters and said the school refused to amend its decision.

The St. Pius Superintendent said earlier this month 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.

The University of New Mexico’s LGBTQ Resource Center will host a graduation ceremony for Garcia on May 30o 7 p.m. May 30.

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58 more reader comments:

  1. WHAT A PATHETIC SCHOOL

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:27pm
  2. Stand for what you believe in. Its not the easiest path, but leaves little regret.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:28pm
  3. How stupid. He should have been allowed to wear the appropriate gown. When will people get over this fear or confusion about trans* people?

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:29pm
  4. I skipped mine too

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:29pm
  5. Good for him!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:30pm
  6. JUST CALLED THIS “SCHOOL” AND GAVE THEM A PICE OF MY MIND

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:32pm
  7. Smh

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:32pm
  8. We had unisex gowns.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:32pm
  9. AWESOME!!! More people need to stand up for what they believe in! Do not let society dictate to you who you are… Dictate who you are to society!!! Society is changeable, let’s make that happen!!!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:34pm
  10. this is a shame!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:35pm
  11. I thought everybody wore a gown?

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:36pm
  12. The school’s loss and shame.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:36pm
  13. why do schools and people have to be so rude to other people just because they don’t get that they are actually hurting people’s feelings by not accepting them for who they are

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:36pm
  14. Good lad. Speaking as a transwoman, my heart goes out to you. Stand up for yourself and for others, and don’t let the bastards keep you down.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:37pm
  15. It’s sad that he had to do that, but it would be far more sad if he had gone to his graduation wearing the wrong robe.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:38pm
  16. Unfortunate but, better to be yourself. Never realized gowns were male/female though. I must of went to a cheap school. ERveryone had the same one.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:38pm
  17. Good for HIM to stick up for himself and not give the backwards ass school satisfaction

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:39pm
  18. Its the color..some schools gender seperate by color

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:40pm
  19. Good for the U of Mexico…but what was he doing in a Catholic School…BOO!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:40pm
  20. oh, ok, didn’t realize that…never went through graduation ceremony, I got my GED when I was 22.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:43pm
  21. Just going to send a short note about that in an email to the school.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:44pm
  22. Stay strong!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:45pm
  23. good – he shouldn’t have been forced to go to ChristoFascist High to begin with – let him get out and move on

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:50pm
  24. he was forced to go to a school named for a pope who was friends with Hitler & funded by a cult that bankrolled Prop H8 and marriage inequality bigot bully ballots – he is better off out of there

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:51pm
  25. So awesome! Stay true to who you are!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:51pm
  26. Why is there different colors? When I graduated it was all one color…black

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:53pm
  27. principles at least, something the principal lacks.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:55pm
  28. Idk, ours were green and white (guys were green, girls white). I was okay with it ’cause the green was hideous, but it seems weird.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:55pm
  29. That just seems odd to me I guess…

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:56pm
  30. hold a small grad party at home if need be so you can celebrate too

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:01pm
  31. Congratulations on graduating, and standing up for what you believe in.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:02pm
  32. So did he graduate or not…

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:02pm
  33. why wouldnt you let him wear a male robe? it makes no since as to why not. the school is soooo pathetic and non supportive to lgbt to the point where they want to ruin the way a kid remebers thier graduation? how utterly freaking pathetic.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:08pm
  34. How awful. But what I don’t understand is why the boys and girls were wearing different robes. Every graduation I have been to, whether HS or College, everyone wore the exact same thing. In my HS, everyone wore a green, unisex robe and at college everyone wore a black unisex robe.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:14pm
  35. God bless him :)

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:14pm
  36. go him. graduation ceremonies suck anyway; the best part is celebrating the milestone with friends and family.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:15pm
  37. Michelle, it’s odd to me too. I have never attended a graduation where everyone wasn’t wearing the exact same unisex gown. Would it not just be easier to do it that way?

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:17pm
  38. It’s…less aesthetically pleasing? Idk.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:22pm
  39. Shame on the school!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:22pm
  40. I did the exact same thing. ><

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:30pm
  41. Sakura, I’d wear a dress to prom. Or a tux… Or commando.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:31pm
  42. Sucks that this shit has to happen in our society. But respect to him for standing up for what he believes in.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:38pm
  43. Proud of this young person staning up for himself. No one should tell you what Gender you are, what was the harm in letting Him wear what the other young men were wearing. ugh.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:38pm
  44. Good for him. I skipped it too and went to see Alice Cooper. Much more memorable and fun. Plus I had a better time with people I ‘actually’ liked.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:39pm
  45. So sad… :(

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:46pm
  46. I’m glad he boycotted, but sad the school didn’t capitulate in time to get him to grad.

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:19pm
  47. …it is very sad !

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:33pm
  48. BOOOOOOOOOOO.

    (Boo to the school, not boo to the student)

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:45pm
  49. its her choice

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:48pm
  50. Sorry he had to do that but support him in his decision

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:04pm
  51. I’m skipping graduation too, not because of this teens situation, although I am straight, but because there is no damn point of it. I’m already graduating with outstanding grades and GPA, but I feel what this teen is going through. Really, it’s sad this stuff is still going on!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:20pm
  52. Sad, but understandable

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:20pm
  53. Stay strong, and know that people are supporting you!!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:12pm
  54. Good for him! Stand up for your beliefs!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:34pm
  55. Assholes

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:35pm
  56. leave it to bigots looking for some one to hate to try an find the last thing that will have it gender marker changed

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:47pm
  57. I am so sorry he had to miss graduation but so proud of him for standing up for what he believes in. WTG!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:18pm
  58. They should have let him wear male gown. Some people are Transgender. Get over it already!

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:27pm