Student Expelled from Calif. Baptist University for Being Trans

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com October 07 2013 3:02 PM ET

California Baptist University has rescinded a 24-year-old transgender woman's acceptance after school officials discovered she had been featured in an MTV True Life episode revealing her transgender identity. 

Domaine Javier recently received her associate's degree from Riverside City College and used an online form to apply to California Baptist University's nursing program. On that application, she confirms that she listed her gender as "female," since she has identified as such since childhood. Javier says she began presenting and living as a woman at age 13. 

She was accepted to CBU's nursing program and planned to start classes this month. But in July she received a letter temporarily expelling her for "committing or attempting to engage in fraud or concealing identity," and presenting false or misleading information during the university's judicial process, according to the Press-Enterprise of Riverside. Her expulsion was finalized August 30.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Javier told the Press-Enterprise. "The [administration] said, 'On your application form you put female.' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's how I see myself.'"

The University declined to comment for the story, citing confidentiality of student disciplinary matters. But Javier says school officials told her that during a background check, they discovered she had appeared in April 2011 in MTV's documentary series True Life, in an episode titled "I'm Passing as Someone I'm Not." In that episode Javier said she revealed her transgender status only to family members and those she was intimately involved with. The episode reportedly shows Javier being dumped by a man she was dating after she tells him she's transgender. 

Javier said she turned down an acceptance offer from California State University, San Bernardino, to attend CBU, where she received a $3,500 dean's scholarship. 

California state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but since CBU is a private, religious institution, it is not required to abide by statewide antidiscrimination laws. Cal State San Bernadino, on the other hand, is required to adhere to the law and could not have denied Javier admission based on her gender identity. 

Javier plans to re-enroll at Riverside City College, but says she can't do so until next fall, significantly delaying her planned timeline to become a registered nurse.  

"This totally ruined my career path," Javier told the Press-Enterprise. "I've been trying to finish as soon as possible. … I didn't know [Baptists] were that extreme."