St. Pius X Catholic High School in Albuquerque color-codes graduation attire for its students based on gender: white caps and gowns for girls, black robes for boys.
Damien Garcia’s friends, family and teachers recognize him as a man. But because he’s transgender, his school says he must wear the graduation uniform designated for women or he won’t walk with his class.
The school superintendent told KRQE the school determines graduation dress code by the gender listed on the student’s birth certificate. Although Garcia’s birth certificate now contains his legal male name, his gender is still listed as female, since New Mexico requires a medical affidavit and proof of legal name change before amending gender on a birth certificate.
A pair of young Quaker brothers in Albuquerque heard about Garcia’s story and launched a petition on Change.org calling for St. Pius to let Garcia walk in men’s regalia for graduation. The petition, addressed to St. Pius principal Barbara Rothweiler, currently has more than 24,000 signatures.
Garcia’s family, who supports his male identity, said they don’t expect the parochial school to make an exception before graduation, but hope the school will consider doing away with gendered graduation gowns altogether in the future.
First off, what’s the benefit of having different graduation attire for men and women anyway? But more importantly, this is outrageous and hurtful in a lot of ways. Sign the petition and maybe the school will take note and wake up.