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St. Pius X transgender student skips graduation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Today’s St. Pius X graduation ceremony was at least one student short.

Transgender student Damian Garcia elected to stay home after the school told him he had to wear a white robe, that worn by girls, instead of the black worn by male students. Garcia was born a girl and named Brandi until he legally changed his name last year. He’s been a student at the school since he was freshman and has said his transgender identity was not a secret to staff or other students. However, he said the school and archdiocese told him they would refer to the gender on his birth certificate, which is female, and require him to wear the white robe.

Garcia posted to Facebook this morning thanking everyone for their support saying that the school was sticking to its decision.

“I’m fully respecting this and myself by not walking and/or attending the ceremony at all,” he said.

The graduation ceremony started at 10 a.m. this morning at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Michael J. Sheehan, the archbishop of Santa Fe, addressed the nearly 200 graduates. He talked about discrimination and standing up for what’s right, warning students that sometimes in life they will be persecuted for standing up for their Christian values.

The University of New Mexico’s LGBTQ Resource Center will host a graduation ceremony for Garcia on May 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. in a courtyard next to Scholes Hall on main campus.

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