A New Mexico-based transgender student is being denied the opportunity to walk during his graduation ceremony in the cap and gown designated for boys.
As KRQE News 13 reports, Albuquerque's Saint Pius High School requires male students to wear black gowns, while females wear white.
The Catholic school insists Damian Garcia must wear a white cap and gown during the ceremony. The administration has overlooked the fact that Garcia recently legally changed his name and his family and teachers refer to him as Damian, as 429 Magazine notes.
"I just want to have a happy graduation and just walk in my black robe nice and proud and just have a memory to look back on with my family and friends," Garcia said in an interview with KRQE News 13. He added, "I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe."
UPDATE: An online petition urging Saint Pius to allow Garcia to wear a black gown has thus far drawn over 13,000 signatures. To view the petition, click here.
Garcia's father Luis referred to Damien as his son. "That's how he wishes to be acknowledged...as a male," he told KRQE News 13.
Luis called the school's decision "heartbreaking," and said he doesn't want to see his son suffer. Meanwhile, the school's superintendent said Saint Pius refers to the students' birth certificates when making decisions about graduation attire; on his, Garcia is identified as a "female."
Unfortunately, Garcia is one of a few transgender students who have encountered graduation trouble as of late.
Red Lion Area School District administrators in Pennsylvania have refused to read Issak Wolfe's assumed name at his 2013 graduation. The district has decided to use the transgender student's birth name. Interestingly, Wolfe is nonetheless being allowed to wear black graduation attire along with other boys in his school.
Watch the clip above.
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