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REX MURPHY: The Yaniv outrage has left Canada, rightly, the laughing stock of the world

Jessica Yaniv, a transgender woman in B.C., has filed over a dozen human rights complaints against businesses she alleges discriminated against her on the basis of gender identity.
Jessica Yaniv, a transgender woman in B.C., has filed over a dozen human rights complaints against businesses she alleges discriminated against her on the basis of gender identity. - Contributed

A friend of mine recently went to his local garage, claimed he was a re-conditioned ’79 Chevy Nova and asked them to do a timing check on the carburetor and rotate his tires. They said they wouldn’t because he didn’t have a carburetor, or tires, and they only worked on “cars.” He is off now to the local human rights tribunal (after a stop for spare parts at Canadian Tire).

The strange, ominous and creepy case before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is reverberating around the world. This is the case of the person, variously identified on the Internet as Jonathan or Jessica Yaniv, who has mounted a campaign to force unwilling cosmeticians to do a “Brazilian Wax” on their still very present testicles and penis. Yaniv has filed complaints against them all.

As I wrote last week, these are all women, some immigrants, and on the economic and cultural margins — 16 in total, according to most accounts. At least one, originally from Brazil, has had to close her small business. All have been under intense duress, and the vexatious complainant is notably hostile to immigrants (social media posts by Yaniv, then identifying as Jonathan, are remarkably insulting to newcomers to Canada). Some have paid Yaniv $2,500 dollars to lay off, while others equipped themselves with lawyers, at their own expense, had the complaints dropped.

It is a very disturbing case — and for more reasons than the harassment of these women. It raises questions not only about the human rights tribunal but about many of the main organs of Canadian journalism.

The latter first: The Times of London has a story on it, a popular Irish radio show talked to Yaniv (angry about the questions, Yaniv hung up, but only after telling the host she was capable of getting pregnant). A far continent away, The Australian gives a full account of the story. Hundreds of other serious and widely followed news sites and blogs in Canada, the U.S., and abroad have done the same.

This is not a local story. And when tweet-master Ricky Gervais fired off this projectile of compressed lucidity, the matter had the Twitter equivalent of an Apollo liftoff: “It is a woman’s right to say ‘I don’t wax testicles. On a man or a woman.’ End of discussion. No sexism. No homophobia. No transphobia.” The world is listening to this squalid tale.
   
From my perspective the core of the story is not Yaniv, whom, from what I have read, presents as opportunistic, cruel and delusionally self-entitled, who manipulates the ever-changing fixations of identity and gender politics for (a) notoriety, (b) possible gain, and (c) some delight in pushing and insulting hard-up people, especially Asians and newcomers (see last week’s column) as a very questionable personal amusement.

Where is this yarn — outside the National Post and Toronto Sun — in the large media of this country? CTV, CBC, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star? Silence. (The Post Millennial has covered the story, as has Blaire White, herself a transgender woman — she posted her work on YouTube.) Perhaps the TV networks have an excuse. After all you cannot expect to have a full seven hours live on the comatose Mueller hearings and cover the Trump presidency every 15 minutes, and still serve up a story of harassment of immigrants and very strange and creepy behaviour out of Vancouver. (Were Trump to tweet on the matter, of course, the panels would be endless, righteous outrage infinite.)

Is it not Canadian news that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is giving this apparently aggressive and eagerly litigious person such specialized and respectful attention? At the same time as 16 women are going through what must be to them a frightening, perplexing and tormenting legal grinder? Why are the Canadian media not at least reporting on what they are going through?

Is it simply because even the word “transgender” is kryptonite to the brave media who are always otherwise anxious to write and broadcast “truth to power”? The silent passing over of this story is journalistic cowardice, the fear of offending the passing pieties of militant progressivism.

As to the Tribunal, is it simply enough — see mocking epigraph above — for someone to walk into its offices, self-declare “I am a trans woman and I can’t get my scrotum waxed,” and have them take on the case? Is that truly all it takes?

Did the tribunal’s members think maybe if 16 — 16! — women unanimously turned Yaniv down, the problem was more likely with the would-be customer, not the provider? Did they consider the upheaval in their lives as solemnly as they presided over this transparently noxious, trivial, illogical and indulgent complaint?

In my column last week, I lamented the Tribunal’s lack of common sense. This week I ask where’s their sense of human sympathy, compassion for the newcomer — and to use one of their most-beloved terms, for the marginalized? The woman from Brazil has lost her income while Yaniv enjoys the publicity.

People do not choose to wax other people’s genitals for love of the craft. They are poor. They likely want to provide for their children so those children will never have to face the unpalatable chore of tending to other people’s privates, male or female, privates. These selfless people, who condescend to this work are, properly considered, moral heroes. Parents who do what all great parents have done, work for the good of their children. But now they are “defendants” in a Canadian court, accused of being transphobic bigots.

Of Yaniv’s other alleged activities, I will not disturb your stomachs with full recount. But if you can combine a fixation on tampons and very young girls, texting young girls with child pornography pictures, proposing all-nude swims for 12-year-olds and you can easily compose it for yourself.

There are people who might actually need the protection of a rights tribunal. But not the bullying and troubled being who wants their privates barbered under force of law.

Canada is a laughing stock in half the world over this cruel and transparent farce.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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