ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - At least one student was missing during commencement at St. Pius X High School's Wednesday morning.
Damian Garcia, who was born a female but identifies as a male, chose not to walk because the teen could not wear the black robes worn by boys.
The teen shared his story with KRQE News 13 last week.
"I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe," Garcia said.
Supporters in Albuquerque and around the world rallied for Garcia.
School officials, however, stuck by their decision. Though the teen had a legal name change, Garcia's birth certificate says 'female.'
School officials said Garcia had to wear the white robes. Instead of participating in the commencement ceremony, Garcia slept in.
"I know it would have been an embarrassment for him to walk in a white gown," Raelynn Vigil, a classmate and friend of Garcia's, said. "But I'm sad he isn't here."
Garcia's father told News 13 in a phone interview their family knew it was a long shot.
"Our hopes were that something was going to happen. I mean, you have to be realistic about things," Luis Garcia said. "Hopefully we brought awareness and helped people and families out there to understand that transgender people are human beings as well."
Garcia said they're grateful to the private school for the education his child has received, and they're looking forward to the fall when Damian starts at the University of New Mexico.
Manners matter especially during the holiday season.
You've heard us talk a lot about Toys for Tots and how you can help needy kids in Albuquerque this Christmas.
The final Toys for Tots collections have been made and the generosity of folks around Albuquerque has been great as always.