Domaine Javier, 25, was a good student in her native Philippines, where she attended Catholic schools. She immigrated to California in 2003. She had been accepted as a nursing student at California Baptist University in Riverside, transferring from Riverside City College and earning both a $3500 academic scholarship and a music scholarship to sing in the chorus.
She lives three blocks from CBU. She turned down a Cal State-San Bernadino to go to CBU.
In 2011, however, she came out as a transwoman on the MTV television program True Life.
Javier was on an episode of “True Life” entitled “I’m Passing as Someone I’m Not.” Cameras showed a man hitting on Javier while she danced at Riverside’s Club Sevilla in a low-cut pink and black dress and putting on make-up in the club’s bathroom. Javier said she only revealed her gender identity to family members.
I am a girl trapped in a guy’s body,” Javier said on the show.
She has identified as a female since she was a toddler. She started living as a girl when she was 13.
Several months after being on True Life, CBU expelled her, claiming she had committed fraud on her admissions application when she selected “female” as her gender.
I didn’t do anything wrong. They said, ‘On your application form you put ‘female.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s how I see myself.
Javier is now suing CBU under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. The Unruh Act defines sex to include gender identity.
California Baptist bans same-sex relationships through a policy that also bans sexual conduct outside of marriage, but simply being transgender is not sexual conduct.
While the position against same-sex sexual relations in some religions is widely known, I don’t think the same is true for positions regarding gender identity.
–Susan Goldberg, Columbia Law School
Goldberg says that the school’s policy sets up transwomen to fail, no matter how they fill in the admissions document. Javier has identified as an lives as woman for years. If she had checked off “Male” on the form, the school would have also questioned her application because of her appearance.
There is no indication from these facts that the student intended to misrepresent herself or her identity to the school. In fact, as the complaint points out, to represent herself as male would have also created the appearance of fraud. It’s a we-win-you-lose framework.
Javier is being represented by Steven Stanwick.
I think that there is a lack of discussion within Christian higher education on what to do with transgender persons, because they don’t fit in traditional categories that we can deal with – like you can’t engage in homosexual conduct, or we believe in marriage between a man and a woman only. But in terms of transgender persons who aren’t necessarily engaging in any behavior, there really hasn’t been much of a discussion or a policy, and they really get left in a very uncertain position.
The suit claims that the actions of CBU will cause Javier to lose more than a half million dollars in scholarship money and potential earnings. But Javier says the suit is not about the money.
I believe that education is for everyone, regardless of their gender. Everyone deserves a shot at a bright future. CBU deprived me of this right and treated me unfairly – something no one deserves.
We have a video story about this from 2011: