As absurd as it is, the Jessica Yaniv case has serious implications

This story is important because if human rights tribunals were guided by reason and objectivity, none of Yaniv’s complaints would have passed their smell test.

Barbara Kay Montreal QC

For its wider implications, but also for its looniness, our history books will marvel—if and when cultural sanity returns—at the singular “human rights” case of alleged transwoman Jessica Yaniv—sometimes self-presenting as Jonathan Yaniv—vs the waxologists.

Yaniv retains his male genitalia. But, thanks to the recently invented, but imprecisely defined right of “gender expression” having been enshrined in legislation, Yaniv has been permitted to wreak havoc in the lives of 16 B.C. waxologists. These women, many of them immigrants, earn a modest living by performing intimate hair-removal services for other women. They refused to wax Yaniv’s balls, and here their troubles began. Some, under the strain of the pressure Yaniv has brought to bear on them, have abandoned their livelihood.

The story has been widely disseminated. The crux of it is that innocent women have been martyred so that an unhinged biological male, who has demonstrated on social media what any reasonable person would call a sick frame of mind can, with the state’s blessing and collusion, target and abuse culturally and economically vulnerable women to satisfy “her” kinky drives. I say collusion, because even when such victims “win,” the process is often the punishment in human rights cases. There has certainly been mental and economic punishment for these women throughout this process, but Yaniv seems to enjoy persecuting them.

This story is important because if human rights tribunals were guided by reason and objectivity, none of Yaniv’s complaints would have passed their smell test. The licence afforded Yaniv cements the factitious notion that when it comes to rights, gender identity may be held by ideologues and their legislative surrogates to trump biology, even in an area that is so simply and fundamentally anatomically based, there is no wiggle room for interpretation.

As the targeted waxologists explained, a woman’s genitals require one kind of treatment, with one kind of wax, a man’s genitals another. The women were trained to wax female genitals only, and were not competent to wax male genitals without risk of harm to the scrotum.

Some of the women worked alone at home, with children present, and some had religious scruples against touching male bodies, but let us set these considerations aside for the moment, because even if a woman has no religious scruples about touching male bodies and even if she works in a salon, she would still have the same basic case for refusal as the more modest women.

The bottom line is, when an individual is getting his or her genitals waxed, there is no “gender” involved. And that is easy to prove. Imagine that Jessica Yaniv is now a corpse, and has left instructions for burial with waxed genitals. Who would do the job? Someone practiced in the waxing of female genitals or someone practised in the waxing of male genitals? At this point Yaniv’s “gender” would not even be moot; it would have vanished entirely, so it would be ludicrous to call for a woman-centric waxologist. But don’t you see that the fact that Yaniv is alive makes no material difference in the realm of waxology? Whether Yaniv thinks he is a woman is as irrelevant to genital waxing as if he were dead, since Yaniv’s anatomy remains ruthlessly male.

Yaniv says if the case is lost, it sets a dangerous precedent for trans people. The HRC claims the hearings revolve around the question of whether a business should be allowed to deny service on the basis of gender identity. But as Brendan O’Neil noted in a recent Spiked! column, the real question is more like “‘Should a woman be forced by law to touch a penis she doesn’t want to touch?’—that’s a franker, more honest way of putting it, though it’s obvious why people don’t put it like that, given it would expose the fundamental misogyny at play in this demented case.” If Yaniv or any other mischief-maker of his sort were to win such a case, it would open the door to similar attacks on actual professions, also 100% anatomy-based, that cater exclusively to females.

Who can see to the bottom of this precipitous slope? Women in track and field and other sports based in speed or power, demonstrably related to physiology, are now sliding down it to full erasure, while their enabling sports associations look on with self-righteous complacency, and nobody in authority reaches out a hand to save them.

What other fields are in peril? The Yanivs of the world are obsessive and unfiltered. They have no moral compass. They are ruled by passions that are unfathomable to normal people. Give an inch to the waxology Yaniv—Yaniv 1.0—and Yaniv 2.0 will find encouragement to up the ante.

Ten years ago I would have found inconceivable, but now readily imagine that one fine day a gynecologist will be held to be transphobic if she refuses to accept a transwoman as a patient. She may find herself explaining ever so nicely to Yaniv 2.0 that she is not competent to deal with male bodies and find herself up against the stone wall of “I am a woman. You treat women. The law agrees I am a woman if I say I am a woman. The law says you must treat me.”

She may then politely ask Yaniv 2.0 to seek examination and medical advice elsewhere, and Yaniv 2.0 may leave with a curse, after which the gynecologist will think the matter closed. A week later she will be shocked to learn that Yaniv 2.0 has filed a complaint against her with her professional association. The association will be baffled and at first rally to her side. Then the association—and the doctor—will find themselves deluged with denunciations of transphobia on social media.

One of their members who identifies as trans will make an impassioned public plea for inclusivity, and pray that the claimant does not commit suicide as a result of being turned away (something Yaniv 2.0 may well threaten to do). LGBTQ activists will call for a legislated solution to this injustice in the universal-healthcare system. Politicians, tumbling over themselves for pride of place in the virtue-signalling pecking order, will promise a solution. One of them will propose a bill to end gender “privilege” in medicine.

Consternation will rage at the various medical schools. University administrations will find themselves in the hot seat. How can they be harbouring in their midst an entire medical discipline that caters only to cis-women? Committees will be struck to study the matter. A recommendation will be made that the discipline of Gynecology add a year to its curriculum for the study of male anatomy and its pathologies. Those students already in the program can be “grandmothered,” but incoming students must commit to the additional year, and must further commit to a statement of gender inclusivity in their practice.

A few shocked practitioners of high standing will speak up publicly, ridiculing the idea that gynecologists must treat biological males as absurd. They will not find the ensuing mobbing comfortable and they will soon shut up. Those that refuse to shut up may find themselves isolated and shunned, the kind of shunning that has already happened in the fields of endocrinology and psychiatry.

For a good example of what is happening in the latter field, I suggest you consult the case of Dr. Allan Josephson, a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. He was demoted and effectively fired for appearing on a panel (on his own time, and not as a representative of his university), run by a conservative think tank in order to express his concerns about wholesale affirmation and medical alteration of children.

The trouble with democracy—one trouble anyway—is our complacency. We are too trusting. We think our liberties are well protected in law. We have no sense of how easily and perniciously laws can be amended when ideologues infiltrate the law schools and populate the benches, the bar associations and the law societies. The whole idea of human rights is being transmogrified before our eyes, and we sit there watching, superannuated classical-liberal deer in the progressive headlights.

I wish my imaginary scenario with the gynecology discipline were a satirical proposition. It is for the moment. But I have no faith that it will remain imaginary. The following words have—in format—become a cliché, but only because the insight the original words represent is so often the most fitting commentary on a democracy’s demise, which always begins with the sacrifice of individual freedoms on the altar of irrational dogmas: “First they came for the waxologists, but I did not speak up because I was not a waxologist …”


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