Student claims discrimination over his wardrobe for a "Mr. Cougar" competition

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 16:29:06-05

An openly gay high school student claims his school photoshopped his clothes to make him fit in better.

Anyone who meets Oscar Castro for even a split second can quickly see his unique personality stand out.

“I'm just an outrageous, bubbly, charismatic person,” said Castro, sitting outside the Casa Grande City Hall on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. 

These traits are all reasons Castro said he was nominated for Mr. Cougar – an all-male beauty/talent show held by Casa Grande Union High School. To hype the show there was a photo shoot with the finalists.

In the promo picture, Castro is wearing pants and dress shoes – but that’s not what Castro actually had on.

In reality, he was wearing eight-inch high-heeled platform shoes and short shorts.  Castro said the teacher in charge of Mr. Cougar had the shorts and boots photoshopped bye, bye.

“He just said, ‘oh, well, you might get away with it at school but it's not going to happen in my picture,’” said Castro.

Even more confusing, Castro said the teacher saw him on picture day and didn't say anything.  Castro said the outfit was only deemed inappropriate after he asked the teacher for an explanation on the picture.

“Which I don't understand because in the Mr. Cougar contest they have a shirtless flexing part,” said Castro.  “I saw it as an act of discrimination.”

ABC15 talked to the principal of Casa Grande Union High School.  He said he knows about the Mr. Cougar controversy but is still gathering the facts and not ready to say who is right and wrong.

Castro said this is a moment that defines how LGBTQ students everywhere are treated.  It's a battle he feels is worth fighting.

“I'm here to show people that if they have troubles with not being who they are, they can just look at me and know it's okay to be who you are -- even if there are people who are not okay with that.”

Castro said he still plans to wear the platform shoes at the Mr. Cougar contest on January 26th.  He hasn’t decided yet on the shorts.