The Justice Centre now represents two new clients in the male genitalia waxing cases which involve serial complainant Jessica Yaniv filing human rights complaints with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Vancouver salon Top Touch, run by women of immigrant background, was approached by Yaniv by phone on August 1, 2019. This was only five days after the last of three trials of prior complaints had been concluded in July of 2019. Top Touch refused to book Brazilian or leg waxing services for Yaniv, and told Yaniv they were going to call the police if they kept receiving phone calls.
Yaniv’s seccond new complaint again targets an esthetics salon run by women of immigrant background. She Point Beauty Studio is operated by East Indian women who are adherents to the Sikh religion. Yaniv approached the studio in August 2019 and first requested a Brazilian bikini wax. Yaniv is a born biological male, with male genitalia, that identifies as a female. Yaniv has not had gender reassignment surgery. The studio refused, stating that their services are only for women. Yaniv then requested leg waxing services. Leg waxing takes place in private with the customer in their underwear or nude from the waist down. She Point Beauty Studio rejected Yaniv’s request for services due to religious, cultural and safety reasons, and because the salon services are specialized to women. Yaniv filed the complaint against She Point Beauty Studio in early October 2019.
In October 2019, the Human Rights Tribunal dismissed three complaints by Yaniv, noting that “human rights legislation does not require a service provider to wax a type of genitals they are not trained for and have not consented to wax.” The Tribunal also found that the complainant Jessica Yaniv had “engaged in improper conduct” and had filed complaints “for an improper purpose”.
The Tribunal found that Yaniv has a “grievance” against certain ethnic groups and targeted them out of racial animus to “punish” them for their cultural and religious views. Yaniv has made derogatory public comments about East Indians and Sikhs, as well as immigrants generally.
In one such comment cited by the Tribunal, Yaniv stated:
We have a lot of immigrants here who gawk and judge and aren’t exactly the cleanest people. They’re also verbally and physically abusive, that’s one main reason why I joined a girls gym, cause I DON’T want issues with these people, nor do I want anything to do with them in anyway, shape or form. They lie about shit, they’ll do anything to support their own kind and make things miserable for everyone else.
The Justice Centre represented five British Columbian estheticians last year at the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Three estheticians faced complaints that proceeded to litigation in July 2019, for declining to perform waxing services for Yaniv. Two complaints were withdrawn.
The first complaint hearing against Blue Heaven Beauty Lounge and its owner, Mrs. Sandeep Benipal, was heard on July 4, 2019. Benipal and her husband are adherents to the Sikh religion. Ms. Benipal is not trained to wax male genitals, and for religious and personal reasons was not comfortable doing so. Blue Heaven Beauty Lounge does not advertise waxing services for male genitalia. “It is not something I am comfortable or trained to do,” explained Banipal in her response to the complaint.
Benipal received notice of a complaint filed against her in March of 2018 by Yaniv, whose identity was briefly protected by the Tribunal’s anonymity Order. A publication ban had identified Yaniv only as JY for most of the proceedings until the estheticians successfully brought an application to have it lifted.
The complaint stated that Yaniv requested an appointment for a “Brazilian” and the request was declined. Yaniv’s complaint cited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, in violation of section 8 of the BC Human Rights Code.
The Justice Centre also defended another esthetician, Mrs. Sukhi Hehar Gill. When Hehar received Yaniv’s request for waxing services on the Complainant’s arms and legs, Hehar was providing her services only by way of house calls, where she attended alone to female clients only. A practicing Sikh, Hehar was opposed to travelling to a client’s house if the client, apart from a given gender identity, is biologically male. “It is contrary to my faith,” explained Hehar in her response to Yaniv’s complaint.
In addition, on July 17, 2019, the Justice Centre represented Marcia Carnauba, another esthetician who declined Yaniv’s request to perform waxing services because Carnauba did not have the requisite training, tools or comfort level to perform waxing services on male genitalia.
In total, Yaniv has now filed more than 16 complaints against Vancouver-area estheticians, over their refusal to provide waxing services on biologically male genitalia.
In a preliminary ruling May 30, 2019 in advance of the hearings, the BC Human Rights Tribunal expressed its concern about the “rights” of transgender individuals to access “gender affirming” care such as waxing, which the Tribunal said is “critical,” even if this is “a very intimate service that is sometimes performed by women who are themselves vulnerable.” The Tribunal stated that Yaniv has a “genuine grievance” about “pervasive discrimination against transgender women,” and this “is the reason that the Tribunal exists.”
The Tribunal stated further that it is “troubled that some of Yaniv’s comments, made within this process and online,” suggest that Yaniv “holds stereotypical and negative views about immigrants to Canada.” The Tribunal stated that “on their face, many of the businesses which Yaniv complains against appear to be run by people who speak English as a second language and/or are racialized women.”
On October 22, 2019, the Justice Centre was pleased to announce that BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled in favour of home estheticians’ right to refuse to handle male genitalia against their will. The decision noted, “human rights legislation does not require a service provider to wax a type of genitals they are not trained for and have not consented to wax.” The decision further found that the complainant Jessica Yaniv “engaged in improper conduct”, “filed complaints for improper purposes”, and concluded Yaniv’s testimony was “disingenuous and self-serving.” Finally, noted the Tribunal, Yaniv was “evasive and argumentative and contradicted herself” while giving evidence.
In October 2019, the Tribunal further ordered costs against Yaniv in the amount of $2000.00 payable to each of Ms. Benipal, Ms. DaSilva, and Mrs. Hehar Gill.
“Self-identification does not erase physiological reality,” stated Jay Cameron, the Justice Centre’s Litigation Manager, and counsel for the estheticians. “Our clients do not offer the service requested. No woman should be compelled to touch male genitals against her will, irrespective of how the owner of the genitals identifies.”
On November 13, 2019, the BC Human Rights Tribunal released written reasons denying Yaniv’s application for reconsideration of the decision dismissing Yaniv’s complaints and the costs imposed on Yaniv.
The latest human rights complaints filed by serial complainant Jessica Yaniv against beauty salons for refusing to wax Yaniv’s male genitalia and legs have been deferred for six months by the BC Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”). The Tribunal has deferred Yaniv’s new complaints because of Yaniv’s failure to pay $6,000 in costs to three salons Yaniv unsuccessfully accused of discrimination in previous complaints that were filed in 2018, and that were heard and ultimately dismissed in 2019. The successful respondents had all refused to provide Yaniv with a “Brazilian” bikini wax. The women in the former and current cases are represented by the Justice Centre.