One standout to make a difference

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By Samuel Finch / Staff Writer

In class (Russell Hebert / Staff Photographer)

By Samuel Finch / Staff Writer

Transgender Americans are  people who feel their gender and their sex were not in-sync at birth.

Like everyone else, they are people who simply want to earn a living, care for their families and keep the lights on in their homes.

Some  are students with high hopes for their futures like Domaine Javier who was the incumbent homecoming queen.

“I plan to run again this year. This time, if I win, it would be meaningful for me because now I’m more connected to myself,” she said.

The process of becoming more connected to herself has not been easy. “For me, transgender is a person born in the wrong body,” Javier said.

“Like me, I think of myself as female, but I was born in the wrong body. Physically incorrect.”

She realized early in life that she was different, though she had not yet heard the term transgender.

“Actually, I wasn’t exposed to the word until I was in my early teens,” Javier explained.

“Like when I was younger, I thought of myself as a woman, I enjoyed the company of women, I dressed up and all that, but I hadn’t really heard of the word. I thought I was just, you know, weird, so to speak, or different.”

The process of self-perception started internally but was soon validated by others.

Javier found herself confronted with strange looks and reactions that reinforced the sense of being different. Then, at age 13, she embraced the sense of difference and decided to be true to what she felt.

From that point on, she began dressing, acting and thinking in ways to match her gender. Though the sense of prejudice continued, Javier strove to do her best.

“When one part of your life is down, you have to compensate with another,” Javier said.

 “Being bullied, ridiculed and mocked on the streets when I was younger, pushed me to the limits. With the support of my mom, of course, and my family, to excel in my studies and my academics.”

Graduating as valedictorian of her class Javier continued her studies at RCC, with a little adventure along the way.

In Jan 2010, Javier was contacted by a producer of MTV’s popular television show “True Life” with an offer to appear on an upcoming episode.

The show’s creators visited Javier on a regular basis and followed the events of  her life.

After more than a year of production, the episode aired on April 9th, 2011.

“The day it aired, I had about two hundred, three hundred friend requests on Facebook,” Javier said with a smile.            Concerned for her privacy, Javier created a fan page to afford these new-found friends and admirers the ability to contact her for advice and other tidbits of information.

“I try to reply as much as I can, even if it’s midnight and I’m all sleepy,” she said. “I try to accommodate them, because you know, it’s hard being different, especially if you don’t have the support system the way I did.”

Along with her mother, Javier has been supported by her siblings and cousins, and now, after growing up without him, her father.

“It makes me feel so honored that I am able to raise awareness and touch these people’s lives, which is my main reason for doing the show,” she said of the reactions. Not all outcomes of the television exposure have been as positive, however.

Javier was set to transfer to Cal Baptist University for the 2011 academic year to study nursing.

She was registered for classes and ready to go with performing arts scholarships when an unexpected turn of events occurred.

“They asked for gender, and I asked myself, what’s my gender?” Javier said of the CBU application. “Okay, I’m female, of course I’m female.”

The university did not agree and subsequently expelled Javier on the grounds of fraud and concealing her identity.

“I didn’t lie, I didn’t commit any fraud or concealing of identity- what you see is what you get.”

The hopes of a student were dashed by the use of the term “gender” where sex may have been better suited.

“After a week or so, I went back on their application and it now says sex. I must have done something right!”

Still, she would not be stopped by this setback.

“You know what they say, when one door closes, another one opens. With me, not only one door opened, but a lot of doors, and windows, opened too,” she said with a laugh. “A lot of opportunities were presented to me.”

These opportunities have included invitations to major talk shows, which Javier declined.

“Right now my focus is my career.”

Javier plans to study nursing in either the expanded RCC program or at Cal State Fullerton.

No matter how different one may think Javier is, her hopes and dreams are the same as most college students.

“I’m just like any other person out there. Everyone wants to fit in, and so do I. But sometimes, in the long run, you come to a realization that probably, just maybe, I wasn’t born to fit in, but I was born to stand out and make a difference and to make a change.”

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