Transgender woman’s appeal in genital waxing case dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

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      A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that its decision is final in a genital waxing case involving a transgender woman.

      Last month, tribunal member Devyn Cousineau tossed out the complaint filed by Jessica Yaniv against several Lower Mainland aestheticians who refused to provide her with body hair removal services.

      Yaniv filed an application for reconsideration, and the same was dismissed by Cousineau.

      “To challenge my findings of fact and assessment of credibility, Ms. Yaniv must file a petition for judicial review and argue that those findings are unreasonable in light of the evidence before the Tribunal,” Cousineau wrote in her reasons for decision dated November 13, 2019.

      Cousineau related that Yaniv wanted another tribunal member to decide on her appeal, claiming that she did not get a fair shake.

      “Ms. Yaniv speculates that I did not decide the Final Decision fairly, and could not decide this application fairly, because I was being ‘harassed’ by members of the public via Twitter and my email account,” Cousineau wrote.

      According to the tribunal member, Yaniv suggested that she was “influenced by public pressure to decide against” the transgender woman.

      “I can assure Ms. Yaniv I have never felt personally harassed about her case or pressured to reach a certain result,” Cousineau stated.

      In her October 22, 2019 decision, Cousineau ruled that the aestheticians did not discriminate against Yaniv because of her gender identity and expression because they do not provide waxing for scrotums.

      The waxing available was for female genitalia only, and Yaniv testified that he has “male parts”.

      On the arm and leg waxing services that were denied Yaniv, the tribunal member determined that the transgender woman came after the beauticians for “personal financial gain”.

      Cousineau also ruled that Yaniv was motivated by “racial animus”.

      “In many of these complaints, she is also motivated to punish racialized and immigrant women based on her perception that certain ethnic groups, namely South Asian and Asian communities, are ‘taking over’ and advancing an agenda hostile to the interests of  LGBTQ+ people,” Cousineau wrote in her October 22, 2019 decision.

      In her new decision, the tribunal member noted that Yaniv has “not explained how fairness or justice warrants reconsideration” of the earlier ruling.

      “If she wants to challenge the Final Decision, she must do so in court,” Cousineau wrote.

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