Aesthetician closes business after refusing Brazilian wax on transgender male

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Getty Images

A Brazilian wax provider in Canada has shut down her home-based business after being sued for turning away a trans-identified woman over concerns about safety. 

The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms has come to the defense of Brazilian immigrant Marcia Da Silva. Da Silva appeared last week before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal after being accused of discriminating on the basis of gender identity.

The plaintiff is controversial trans activist Jessica Yaniv (born Jonathan Yaniv), who was recently accused of child exploitation of an underage girl. Yaniv filed more than a dozen complaints against Vancouver-area aestheticians and sought monetary compensation because of the business owners' refusal to provide waxing services to someone with biologically male genitalia.

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As Brazilian waxes are generally sought by women to remove unwanted hair, Yaniv contends that such a denial of service is a violation of section 8 of the British Columbia human rights code. The law says that it is illegal for a business to deny services on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation or other social qualifiers. 

The Toronto Sun, which published a summary of the hearing, reports that Yaniv claimed to have seen a Facebook advertisement in spring 2018 offering a promotion for a Brazillian wax. 

Da Silva told the tribunal that she had just started her business after previously only performing waxes on friends and family and that Yaniv was the first person who responded to her ad. 

Although Yaniv and Da Silva agreed on a time to do the wax, Da Silva admitted to canceling the session after Yaniv sent Da Silva a picture and identified as a transgender woman. 

Da Silva told the tribunal that she has “no problem with LGBT” but was not comfortable or even trained to conduct a waxing session with someone with male genitalia. 

Additionally, Da Silva said that she took the advice of her husband after she was frightened by a bombardment of text messages from Yaniv.

“For my safety, I said, ‘No,’” Da Silva said, according to the Toronto Sun. 

Da Silva testified that she would be willing to perform the service on a transgender client who had undergone gender reassignment surgery. 

However, Yaniv compared the denial of service to neo-nazism even though Da Silva herself is an immigrant of color. 

Da Silva’s attorney, Jay Cameron, argued that Yaniv should have looked for providers that offer waxing services for male genitalia. Cameron reportedly warned the tribunal that a ruling against his client would be the equivalent of forcing someone to provide “intimate services” against their will.

During the hearing, Yaniv claimed to be “intersex” and have female body parts. As the Toronto Sun reports, Yaniv would not elaborate on what that means. 

Cameron accused Yaniv of trying to “mislead the tribunal.” Cameron also accused Yaniv of setting up a fake profile of a pregnant woman upon initially seeking out the waxing service. However, Yaniv denied that claim.

According to The Post Millennial, Da Silva explained during the hearing that the incident involving Yani led her to shut down the business. 

Also reported by The Post Millennial this week, Yaniv was accused by Jessica Rumpel of engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviors online when she was 14 and 15. At the time of the alleged messages, Yaniv would have been 27. The outlet notes that Rumpel has filed a child exploitation report against Yaniv. 

“I have no idea who that is," Yaniv said in a statement to The Post Millennial about Rumpel's claims. “There has been a lot of fake accounts of me out there, and a lot of people trying to put disparaging content out there. So I have no idea who this person is at all.”

As Yaniv has taken 15 other female business owners to the tribunal for similar refusals, the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms is representing at least three of them

“Some of my clients have been very significantly affected on a personal level,” Cameron said. “[Another client also] closed her business, she has been depressed, anxious, sleepless and that has gone on for a period of many, many months.”

“It is a very serious thing to launch a human rights complaint against a person,
Cameron added. “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.”

In addition to Da Silva, the law center is representing two Sikh business owners who face legal action filed by Yaniv. 

One is Sandeep Banipal, the owner of the Blue Heaven Beauty Lounge, which was the subject of a complaint filed by Yaniv in March 2018. The law group maintains that Banipal is not trained to wax male genitals and is also not comfortable doing so for religious reasons. Additionally, Blue Heaven does not advertise waxing services for men. 

The Justice Center is also representing Sukhi Hehar Gill, a practicing Sikh and aesthetician who does house calls. However, Gill does not do house calls if the client is a biological male because it is contrary to her faith. 

Last year, it was reported that the owners of Mad Wax of Windsor were brought before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after a female Muslim employee refused to provide waxing service to a biological male. 

The plaintiff in the case, who sought $50,000 in damages, reached out to Mad Wax last March when the employee who does male hair removal was on sick leave. 

“Under normal circumstances, we might assume any sane person would laugh at the idea of a man attempting to bring over a dozen women to a Human Rights Tribunal because they didn’t want to touch his genitals,” wrote feminist Canadian journalist Meghan Murphy in an op-ed. “But we are not living under normal circumstances. We are living in a brand new world, wherein men are women the moment they say so, no matter what material reality exists. To question this claim amounts to hate speech and, apparently, could make one guilty of a hate crime.”

“Here in Canada, we seem to have swallowed all that gender identity ideology entails with enthusiasm,” Murphy added. “We love to think of ourselves as the most kind, inclusive, and progressive of all nations. And apparently, that means immigrant women, for whom English is a second language, working out of their homes, often with young children present in the home, are obligated to touch a man’s genitals if he makes an appointment.”

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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