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Lee Harding: False Rights Make Wrongs Wax On

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These days, it seems more and more that rights have become wrongs, and wrongs have become rights. In British Columbia, a male-to-female transgender has hauled several women before human rights tribunals for not waxing “her” male private parts. This is the weird and not-so-wonderful world of human rights since gender identity and expression became entrenched in the criminal code.

Jessica Yaniv was born Jonathan Yaniv and was still using male names on LinkedIn and elsewhere on social media until late last year. Just the same, Yaniv self-declared as a female and went to many different women to get hair waxed from the pubic area. When the women refused, Yaniv filed a human rights complaint. This happened 16 times.

Yaniv could have gotten hair removed by estheticians who do that for men. Instead, Yaniv succeeded in other removals, such as having radical feminist Meghan Murphy and free speech advocate Lindsay Shepherd taken off twitter for “misgendering” Yaniv as a male.

Yaniv also got media coverage of his complaints removed—at least for a while. This ended on July 17, when Jay Cameron of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) convinced the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to allow media coverage. The Tribunal agreed that, given Yaniv’s frequent discussions on social media, Yaniv did not seem to care much about personal privacy.

As for complaint victims, they didn’t care for Yaniv’s personal privates. Marcia Da Silva had waxed female friends and family, then advertised her services on Facebook. Yaniv was the first to respond. When Da Silva found out Yaniv had male sex organs, she declined. “I have no problem with LGBT,” she told the tribunal, according to National Post. She would, in fact, be willing to do a wax job on a transgender post-surgery. But handle male parts? No.

During the tribunal, Yaniv said, “You cannot choose who your clientele is going to be,” and equated the denial of service to being neo-Nazi.

Clearly, a wax job for female parts and male parts are not the same thing.

Cameron called an expert to the stand, “AB,” who operates a men-only salon. AB said that the procedure requires a different kind of wax for men than for women because the skin is very thin. Also, male clients will often get aroused during the hands-on procedure, and sometimes ask the practitioner for sex. AB says after her refusal, some clients have gotten angry and called her names.

Here’s the rub: When human rights codes nod to self-declared gender identity, women can no longer refuse to handle a penis and scrotum they don’t want to. To call this a human right is laughable.

The absurdity of the situation has become a source of endless jokes about waxing of male genitalia online. But it’s a lot less funny for DaSilva and others targeted by Yaniv. John Carpay, president of the JCCF, says  it has been stressful for many of the women to be subjected to the complaints. If successful, Yaniv could make as much as $35,000 for such complaints. Some of the women settled in mediation to put the matter behind them. Da Silva shut down her business.

Yaniv seems more like an aggressor than a victim. Yaniv insulted Lindsay Shepherd’s genitalia on twitter, but some will find Yaniv’s other online activities even more offensive. In formal tribunal proceedings and informally in social media posts, Yaniv’s complaints were often directed at immigrants and people of colour. Even trans activist Morgane Oger condemned Yaniv for what she calls “outrageously inappropriate acts, some toward children who are tweens and teens … as a pattern of predatory behaviour.”

Some of these online exchanges included discussing the private parts of young girls, pestering them, and even showing up uninvited to take pictures at their beauty pageants. A young woman who Yaniv chatted with online at the time when the woman was between the ages of 14 and 15 has filed a report with CyberTip because of Yaniv’s allegedly sexually suggestive comments, according to The Post Millenial.

In the not too distant past, people would have been given much less opportunity to engage in such behaviour. That someone can claim womanhood and use it to target women can only mean that rights have turned into wrongs.

Lee Harding is a former political staffer, taxpayer advocate, and think tank researcher. He is now a columnist based in Saskatchewan.

Written by The Baron

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