Expelled transgender student files suit
A California lawsuit claims that a Baptist university’s religious identity doesn’t give it a right to discriminate.
By Bob Allen
A transgender woman is suing California Baptist University for allegedly expelling her because of her gender identity.
Domaine Javier, 25, filed a lawsuit Feb. 25 accusing the private Christian school affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention of breach of contract and violation of state anti-discrimination laws. It asks for $500,000 in damages, according to the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.
Cal Baptist expelled Javier in 2011 after she revealed on an MTV reality show that she is biologically male. The university charged Javier with deception for checking “female” on her online application form.
Javier claimed she didn’t believe she did anything wrong, because she has identified as a female since she was a toddler and began dressing and behaving like a girl at age 13. She was valedictorian of her high school class and was elected homecoming queen at Riverside City College before deciding to transfer to Cal Baptist to study nursing.
Javier’s lawyer claims she was awarded more than $5,000 in scholarships to attend Cal Baptist, but since being kicked out has worked at a fast-food job until she recently enrolled in Riverside City College’s nursing program.
The lawsuit is based in part on a state law that bars discrimination based upon gender identity. While the law generally does not apply to private schools, the lawsuit argues that Cal Baptist is open to people of all faiths and offers degrees primarily in secular fields.
“We’re not talking about a private seminary or Bible college,” attorney Paul Southwick told the newspaper. “Just because Cal Baptist is a religiously affiliated institution doesn’t give it a right to discriminate.”
© 2013 Associated Baptist Press, Inc.