The University of New Mexico and Santa Fe Mountain Center’s Gay Straight Alliance Network will host the second annual High School Lavender Graduation to celebrate LGBTQ and ally students. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 22 from 5-7 p.m. on UNM's main campus near the resource center courtyard and Scholes Hall.

The keynote address will be delivered by Pat Cordova-Goff, California’s first openly transgender high school-level student-athlete. Cordova-Goff, the school’s elected student body president and a proud cheer team member, was born male and came out as transgender her sophomore year of High School.

The first Lavender Graduation was held in 1995 at the University of Michigan after Dr. Ronni Sanlo recognized that although celebrations recognized various ethnicities and academic groups, no celebration honored the achievements of the school’s LGBTQ students. Since then many colleges and universities have adopted the tradition.

The first ceremony of its kind in New Mexico was inspired when Damian Garcia, a transgender student, decided not to walk at his high school’s graduation when school officials told him he must wear a white robe along with the school’s graduating females. Lavender is important to the LGBTQ history because it is a combination of the pink triangle that designated gay men and the black triangle designating lesbians in Nazi Germany.

The UNM resource center invites all family, friends and advocates to join in celebrating the academic achievements the young LGBTQ and ally community.

All graduates interested can RSVP by calling Ashley Carter at 505-277-LGBT (5428) or emailing lgbtqrc@unm.edu.

For more information contact Alma Rosa Silva Bañuelos, director, LGBTQ Resource Center, via email at Almar0sa@unm.edu.