British Columbia

Estheticians don't have to wax male genitalia against their will, B.C. tribunal rules

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled against a transgender woman who brought 15 discrimination complaints after she was refused wax services at more than a dozen beauty salons.

Transgender woman loses complaint against estheticians who refused her service

Jessica Yaniv speaks to media after the final day of hearings in July, 2019. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal found Tuesday she had not been discriminated against by estheticians who refused her waxing services. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled against a transgender woman who brought 15 discrimination complaints after she was refused wax services at more than a dozen beauty salons.

Jessica Yaniv, who identifies as female but has male genitalia, contacted the businesses through Facebook messages requesting appointments, including for a Brazilian wax which is a service to remove most or all female pubic hair.

But according to Tuesday's decision, "... 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."

Estheticians who appeared at the hearing testified they declined to wax Yaniv for various reasons, including religious grounds, personal safety concerns, and lack of training when it came to male genitalia. 

The tribunal also heard from a waxing expert who testified that waxing female versus male genitalia required different training, and that an untrained person attempting to wax someone's scrotum could seriously injure the client.

The legal advocacy organization Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms represented five of the aesthetician respondents.  

Protesters outside Jessica Yaniv's B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in July, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

"Self-identification does not erase physiological reality," said Jay Cameron of the the Justice Centre. "No woman should be compelled to touch male genitals against her will, irrespective of how the owner of the genitals identifies."

The ruling also found that Yaniv engaged in improper conduct by misleading the tribunal, by being untruthful, and by engaging in extortionate behaviour and scurrilous attacks.

It was also noted that she brought most of her 15 complaints against women described as "not white," while expressing racial animosity on social media and in her testimony.

Yaniv was ordered to pay $2,000 to each of three respondents.