Jessica Yaniv is the hill that Jesse Brown wants to die on

It goes without saying that trans people face unique challenges and discrimination, but Yaniv’s status as a transperson should not shield her from being accountable for her actions.

Ali Taghva Montreal QC

Today, in a bizarre episode of the Canadaland podcast, Jesse Brown and guest co-host Zane Schwartz went out of their way to pretend the Jessica Yaniv story that has trended worldwide is just an illusion or in some way manufactured, in part by The Post Millennial, as illegitimate outrage.

Brown actually says: “There’s this trans person, this imaginary hypothetical, trans person whom transphobic reactionaries have been imagining for years. This is kind of a trans bogeyman invoked in hypothetical situations … a pervert, a predator who gets off trespassing into women’s washrooms.”

Schwartz chimes in: “There has been no evidence to suggest it exists. … It’s a convenient fiction.”

Brown agrees. “It’s something that isn’t real. Until very recently. Lo and behold, now this imaginary trans bogeyman seems to exist at least to extreme conservative media.”

Brown and Schwartz seem to be suggesting that up until just this precise moment in human history, child sex predation has been exclusively the purview of non-trans communities. Think about that for a second. Are trans people magic? Do they somehow not have all of the same capacities for good and evil as the rest of us? This is what ideological bias looks like.

Schwartz and Brown both breathlessly explain the Yaniv saga, beginning with the fact that Yaniv managed to get Lindsay Shepherd banned from Twitter. Brown expresses glee at the fact that Shepherd is banned for misgendering Yaniv, and, to his credit, conceded that Yaniv herself probably should have been banned for her misogynist comments about Shepherd as well.

Brown and Schwartz both really want their listeners to know that Yaniv is not an “official” activist for the LGBTQ community, with Brown claiming that “Is [the fact that Yaniv an activist]  fact-checked? Are there any groups associated with transgender activism associated with Jessica Yaniv?”

The truth is that on the issue of ball waxing, she enjoyed the longtime support of the B.C. NDP Vice President Morgan Oger up until recently when Oger disavowed Yaniv in a lengthy blog post over allegations of Yaniv’s predation.

Even without Oger’s signal boosting, Yaniv boasts a large social media platform and up until recently, operated under the cloak of progressivism. Whether she currently has any support from officially sanctioned LGBTQ-friendly organizations or political parties is hardly the point.

She enjoyed that status for years, and her reach still exists right now, in real-time.

“It’s almost like a media hoax,” Brown says, implying that Yaniv is the product of a hateful conservative media landscape that somehow dreamed her into existence out of some perverted need for a supervillain.

Both Brown and Schwartz speak as if Yaniv has not continually taken multiple people, mostly targeting racial minorities, to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in the name of activism, and ruined their businesses.

The real villain, for Brown and Schwartz, seems to be The Post Millennial, as well as the numerous news outlets that reported on the story as well as those enraged by it, as opposed to the potential child sex predator who is abusing the human rights tribunals system to compel women without resources to touch her penis and testicles or else face ruin.

Yes, the story ran far and wide from The National Post, to The Daily Wire, to Fox News, to even InfoWars, but it’s the story that matters. And Brown’s proper role here would be to call out the CBC for not touching the story.

Jessica Yaniv appears to be a real person causing real harm to multiple communities as well as children, and possibly changing the legal landscape in British Columbia through the Tribunal system.

The attempts by Brown and Schwartz to wish away the story by gaslighting their listeners is not only worrying, but it’s also extremely irresponsible.

The animus expressed by Canadaland toward The Post Millennial is hard to pin down exactly. They seem mad that we broke the story. But even more incomprehensible, they seem mad that the story and the person at the heart of the story are real. If the Toronto Star, CBC, Globe and Mail, and all the rest of the Canadian media refuse to report on such a story, then we have a professional obligation to. To put it bluntly, it’s the reason we exist.

This bizarre attack on factual news reporting is the result of an ideological blindspot that plagues both Canadaland and the media it purports to “fact check.” And it’s very dangerous. It goes without saying that trans people face unique challenges and discrimination, but Yaniv’s status as a transperson should not shield her from being accountable for her actions.

The trans community, like all communities, is not perfect and should not be tarred by one individual.

We should have the ability and discernment to weed out bad actors like Yaniv without being scolded by the Jesse Browns of the world, who, blinded by their social justice ideology, continue to insist that this very real issue is just the fever dream of transphobes.


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