Albuquerque | Catholic Church | New Mexico | News | Transgender

Catholic School Forcing Male Transgender Student to Wear Female Robe at Graduation: VIDEO


An Albuquerque, New Mexico Catholic school is demanding that Damian Garcia, a trans student, wear a girl's gown to graduation. Damian was born Brandi Garcia but identifies as a male, had a name change last year, and is known as Damian to students, teachers, and his parents, but the Superintendent of Saint Pius insists he is a girl and must wear a white robe.

Damian's father is angry about the humiliating treatment, KRQE reports:

“I look at him and I call him my son. That's how he wishes to be acknowledged is as a male,” said father Luis Garcia.

The Saint Pius Superintendent tells KRQE News 13, Saint Pius goes by what the student's birth certificate says if there's any question on what gender-color they wear at graduation.

Says Damian: “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. I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe.”


Graduation gown a problem for transgender student

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  1. No listing for a superintendent but the principal is Barbara Rothweiler and her email is

    Posted by: JD | May 17, 2013 1:03:03 PM

  2. This is too much. Why is it necessary to distinguish gender by robe color? The easy solution to this, that won't require either side to give in on what gender they believe Damian is... pick one color and have all the graduates wear it.

    I'll even make it easier for them by putting my Catholic hat on and picking a color for them. The norm, for everyone (even lay people) performing any kind of ministerial function in liturgies, is to wear an alb, the liturgical vestment sign of a person who was baptized. The alb is white.

    Solution: Since this is a Catholic school the graduates are graduating from, mirror the graduation gown after the alb and make it white. Then they achieve two things. 1) The graduates highlight their dual status of baptized and graduate; and 2) they don't have to have a debate over what gender anyone is.

    Posted by: William | May 17, 2013 1:07:53 PM

  3. Wow--- so this constitutes news. REALLY!?!
    I can identify as cat...don't make it so.
    If this young woman wants to have a sex But until then, You is a girl.

    Posted by: HA! | May 17, 2013 1:40:05 PM

  4. Someone needs to sit David Hearne down and read him the truth: you're an a$$hole.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | May 17, 2013 1:40:20 PM

  5. I guess Michael is another alies of Rick. Good to know.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 17, 2013 1:40:21 PM

  6. Praise Jesus Damian has such a loving and accepting dad.

    Posted by: David R. | May 17, 2013 1:40:45 PM

  7. a bound chest and short hair do not a male make.

    Reminds me of the women a few years back at an all girls college that started taking hormone therapy and indentified as male. School asked them to finish elsewhere. They were pissed. OH WELL.

    Posted by: HA! | May 17, 2013 1:44:15 PM

  8. You're right, MateoM. I've never heard of this Michael before. Has he ever posted on Towleroad before? If so, he hasn't developed much of a voice.


    They are all the same loser."

    Is the above the best you can come up with, Michael? It's not good for Gay people to be dull and boring, Michael.
    If you live in a major city maybe there's some Gay finishing school you could attend.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 17, 2013 1:50:29 PM

  9. Just a side note. I've noticed there are two different people posting in the comment section as "William". I've noticed that for awhile, in other posts.

    I really don't care. If two different people are named William, that's fine. Two different people can use that name. But I don't want the other William's thoughts being confused for mine.

    Posted by: William | May 17, 2013 1:51:00 PM

  10. NO, MateoM,

    I am ONLY 'ratbastard'. Although there's zero question 95% of 'conservative' troll posts on here which immediately result in a huge number of predictable counter posts are by a small handful of far left 'progressives' such as the guy from Toronto by way of Thunder Bay. This troll is the mother of all trolls. I'm sure I've responded numerous times to one of his alias trolls, maybe even on this thread.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 17, 2013 2:20:49 PM

  11. Actually, Rat, any gay person with a brain and a heart is a "far left progressive." Far more people on here side with us than with you, and that's only because the only people that agree with you is Rick and his other aliases. Because of course you are Rick. We've known this for some time. Derrick is in Philly, Kiwi is in NY, and I'm in California. I assume you're in your mother's basement.

    Funny, you're obsession with kiwi sounds like UFFDA's. So if you're not Kiwi, you're at least UFFDA.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 17, 2013 2:38:03 PM

  12. I meant "if you're not Rick." What a weird slip.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 17, 2013 2:38:57 PM

  13. any transpeople reading this, take solace: the anti-trans crap you've been reading online will not affect you in the real world.

    why? these cowards don't have the balls to not only say it to your faces, they're not "man enough" to live in the real world, as openly gay people.

    trust - spewing hatred online is all they have to live for. so don't get too upset - in the real world, there are people who will love and embrace you.

    anti-trans gay men? such wimps, they can only make their statements online, anonymously.

    so shine on, you diamonds.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 17, 2013 3:51:11 PM

  14. Kiwi, if the comments here don't matter,why do you spend all your time trying to rebut them?

    Also, those shining diamonds you talk about have a suicide/suicide attempt rate of 66%. Your hollow words don't help them at all. Shame on you.

    Posted by: William | May 17, 2013 4:02:32 PM

  15. I spent the afternoon with some brilliant Queer youth, our straight allies, and LGBT people at Toronto's flag-raising for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

    our living out loud truth will decimate your cowardly lies.

    Yes, there are high suicide rates. And suicide attempt rates. And high rates of physical-violence against them.

    That's why I, and my family, and countless others will always stand in strong solidarity with them. Visible, Vocal, in the flesh.

    Feel free to provide a link showing what you're doing to help anyone. :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 17, 2013 4:25:14 PM

  16. "That's why I, and my family, and countless others will always stand in strong solidarity with them."

    You mean your daddy, the CEO? Why don't you tell us more about him and what it is like to be the 1 percent?

    Posted by: William | May 17, 2013 5:25:56 PM

  17. Why are people mean? This is simply a case of "Hi, I'm going to be a jerk just to hurt your feelings." Damian clearly identifies as male, so get over it, school. How would you feel if someone told you you weren't who you know yourself to be. This is just cruel, and it makes me upset to think people in power think it's okay to act this way. On the flipside, they are being exposed for their bigotry, so at least more of us are aware of this situation so we can fight back and bring this issue out into the open. Transgender is the new gay.

    Posted by: Marc | May 17, 2013 5:35:16 PM

  18. This is just sickening. I will NEVER donate another thing to St. Pius EVER. I encourage other people who support Damian to do likewise. Is it any wonder that the catholic church has lost so many members?
    I encourage the catholic church to join the 21st century and get out of the dark ages.

    Posted by: Dechen | May 17, 2013 6:46:15 PM

  19. To be clear Pius is a Catholic PRIVATE school that caters to not only Catholics but other students as well. The valedictorian of my graduating class was an actively practicing HINDU. The reason parents enroll their children into this school is because it is also a college prep school with a 97% graduation rate with all graduates attending a four year university. You get a great education and work your ass off to get it. College was a breeze after I graduated and made it much easier for me. I don't know much about the situation other than what the articles say (I graduated 6 years ago) but if Damian is not Catholic and identifies as a male than the Pius officials should mind their own business. This is bullying in the worst sense because it's by one of authority. The superintendent is dehumanizing a young man and guess what? The press is noticing. Enrollment is already down for the school and each graduating class has the same joke about half of their class dropping out before graduation. My class had 400+ freshman and 200+ making it to graduation, with maybe half of that number denouncing the Catholic religion in between then. Just something to think about.
    Before I graduated everyone wore black. I'm pretty sure the prissy girls in my class were responsible for the whole "girls wear white gowns" issue. And to be honest, the white gowns are terribly see through and made of cheaper and rougher material than the black robes. I still have mind and ripped it off the moment they released us. Overall it was a bad decision and they should just make everyone wear the same colors.

    Posted by: Huffletough | May 17, 2013 8:54:42 PM

  20. Damian should hold his own graduation and flip the bird at his high school's graduation. Who needs that noise, make your own celebration!

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 17, 2013 10:20:06 PM

  21. Damian you are welcome in my home. Anytime. Any place. I applaud your bravery. All the haters? Meh, ignore them. Be strong and keep moving forward,

    Posted by: Rick | May 17, 2013 10:25:09 PM

  22. I'm an alumni of this school, and would be ashamed by this story if it surprised me at all. Many of the teachers are great, but the cowardly administration is horrible. In case anyone is interested, there are some ways to protest. Sign the petition at:

    email: or

    Thanks everyone. I don't think they will change, but they need to know that this isn't ok.

    Posted by: Alexander | May 17, 2013 11:31:42 PM

  23. Parents who send their children to a Catholic School to be indoctrinated with ancient primitive dogmas get just what they deserve. Don't complain when those primitive myths bit you in the A$$.

    Posted by: andrew | May 18, 2013 2:52:50 AM

  24. Catholic clergy routinely dress in women's garb so forcing this boy to cross dress isn't a stretch for them. This is such a trivial issue to the rest of us but if walking in a black gown will make someone's day brighter shouldn't a religion embrace that sentiment? Or are they afraid he will cause others to want to be who they are as well. You can't have free thought in the catholic church and that's the issue.
    Come on Damian, didn't you know they were bigots before this?

    Posted by: terry | May 18, 2013 8:43:54 AM

  25. It is very sad the school will not relent on this policy. He has obviously been able to attend school as a male. A ridiculous piece of paper, ie birth certificate, merely says a person’s physical gender. For those of us who are transgender we know that gender is a mental, spiritual and emotional state. Our hearts and souls are who we really are.

    I feel sad for Damian and his family. The Catholic School is so missing the point. I believe Jesus was all about love and tolerance. Somewhere along the line that message seems to have been skewed. Damian, I applaud your courage and conviction to be the person you truly are, Bravo!

    Posted by: Danielle Bergan | May 18, 2013 2:41:12 PM

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