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Activist: Baptist college’s charge of fraud against trans woman is ‘utter nonsense’

By David Ferguson
Friday, October 4, 2013 12:23 EDT
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Domaine Javier via screencap
 
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On Thursday, Raw Story spoke to Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality about the case of California nursing student Domaine Javier, who was denied entry into California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. According to Christian Walters at Towleroad, Javier has sued CBU after the college rescinded her enrollment and accused her of fraud for marking “female” as her gender.

“This is utter nonsense,” said Keisling. “California Baptist University should be ashamed of itself.”

Javier was enrolled with honors for fall semester in CBU’s nursing program after completing courses at Riverside City College. She had not yet started classes when she received a letter from college administrators. In it, she was ordered to report alone to a meeting with CBU faculty and staff to discuss accusations of fraud and “concealment of identity”

After approving her application, a CBU official reportedly saw the episode of the MTV series “True Life” that featured Javier, who was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. Javier has lived as a female since her teens and was the subject of a “True Life” documentary that aired in 2011.

At the meeting, Javier was informed that she was not allowed to attend classes at CBU and that by not indicating on her application that she was born male, officials claimed that she had perpetrated an act of fraud.

“First of all, she didn’t commit fraud,” said Keisling. “Second, that wasn’t their motivation. Their motivation was that they found out they had a transgender student, so they came up with an insulting, hare-brained excuse to expel her.”

“This is a student who has excelled at her pursuits,” Keisling continued, “and they saw that and they accepted her. And then they found out this thing about her and bizarrely, rather than be excited that their students are being visible, they overreacted.”

The law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP has agreed to handle Javier’s case pro bono and filed a suit on her behalf in Riverside County Court.

CBU initially responded to the suit by ducking behind a claim that it was exercising its “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBT people. The law firm responded that as a public university that accepts government money, it must respect state law, which forbids discrimination against LGBT people.

The university, said the suit, “competes in the public marketplace to attract students regardless of their religious affiliation” and has accepted more than $100 million in public funds and hopes to receive $155 million more from government coffers in pursuit “of secular education.” Therefore, attorneys argued, CBU cannot claim religious exemption from the law.

Watch video about Domaine Javier’s story, embedded below via Queerty:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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