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New Mexico

Transgender student skips graduation rather than wear female gown

Thursday, May 23, 2013
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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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