A Canadian woman claims she was forced to shut down her waxing business after she refused to wax a transgender woman’s male genitalia.
Jessica Yaniv, the transgender woman in question, reacted to the refusal by registering a complaint against Maria Da Silva with the British Columbia Human Rights tribunal, a quasi-judicial body that deals with human rights complaints made under the B.C. human rights code. Yaniv, formerly known as Jonathan Yaniv, has filed similar claims against fifteen other B.C. women who refused to wax her private region, Canadian news outlet The Post Millennial reported.
“The people that discriminated against me are forcing their beliefs on society,” Yaniv, who represented herself, told the tribunal during a Wednesday proceeding.
According to The Post Millennial, Yaniv has requested “Brazilian” bikini waxes from 16 Vancouver-area estheticians even though there are other waxers in the immediate region who offer a “Manzilian,” a different procedure specifically designed for waxing male genitalia.
Da Silva’s legal representative told the tribunal his client had been forced to shutter her business, leading to a loss of income for her family and causing her depression and anxiousness.
“Some of my clients have been very significantly affected on a personal level. [Another client also] closed her business, she has been depressed, anxious, sleepless and that has gone on for a period of many many months,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms lawyer, Jay Cameron, said during the hearing.
“It is a very serious thing to launch a human rights complaint against a person. My clients are people. They have a right to make a living and this has interfered with their livelihood, but also you have the stigma of being associated with this hanging over you,” he added.
Cameron suggested that his clients’ decision to refuse to perform services on Yaniv stemmed from the fact that the procedure for waxing male genitals is different than the one used on female genitalia.
The Post Millennial reported that Da Silva, an immigrant from Brazil, declined to wax Yaniv’s genitals because of safety concerns raised by her husband. She also claimed that Yaniv harassed her.
Jessica Yaniv amid a broader debate over trans rights
In both Canada and in the United States, LGBT activists have spearheaded a rapid advance in trans rights in recent years. However, even some supporters of the movement worry that it is overturning gendered social institutions without due consideration, and in ways that could detrimental to non-trans women.
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