A New Mexico transgender high school senior has chosen not to walk with his friends at graduation because of a dispute regarding him identifying as a male.
Damian Garcia’s birth certificate says he is a female and, as part of school tradition at St. Pius, women wear white at graduation. The school’s superintendent says that if there’s any disagreements about what robe a student should wear, the school defers to the birth certificate.
"I just want to have a happy graduation, and just walk in my black robe, nice and proud, and have a memory to look back on, you know, with my family and friends," Garcia said. The superintendent says that Garcia can wear white or not walk at all.
"I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe," Garcia said.
Damian was born Brandi but had his name legally changed earlier this year, KPLCTV reported.
"I look at him and I call him my son," said Luis Garcia, his father. "And that's how he wishes to be acknowledged. It's just something that's very difficult to go through because you see your child suffer and you never want to see your child suffer."
He doesn’t expect the school to change its policy in time for his son to walk. Luis says the decision is "heartbreaking.” He added: “All you want in life is for your kids to be happy and healthy and you never want to see them suffer or be ridiculed or be made fun of."
A video about the story is below: