A Catholic high school in New Mexico says that a transgender student must wear a female gown or not participate in graduation ceremonies.


Damian Garcia was born as Brandi Garcia, but now he identifies as a boy and had his name legally changed last year. His parents and the teachers at Saint Pius High School in Albuquerque all call him "Damian."

"I look at him and call him my son," Damian's father, Luis Garcia, told KRQE. "That's how he wishes to be acknowledged is as a male."

But the school is insisting that Damian wear the white gown intended for girls at graduation instead of the boys' black black gown.

"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," he explained to KRQE. "I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe."

Although Damian had his name legally changed, his birth certificate still states that he is a female, and officials at Saint Pius insisted that they would go by his legal gender.

Damian's father said that he did not expect that the school would change policy by next week's graduation, but he hoped to see all graduates wearing the same color gowns in the future.

"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."

Watch this video from KRQE, broadcast May 16, 2013.

Graduation gown a problem for transgender student