A Brazilian immigrant to Canada has been forced to shut her body waxing business after she refused to wax the male genitals of a transgender activist. Jessica Yaniv, (formerly Jonathan Yaniv), is a biological male who identifies as a woman. Yaniv filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last year after Marcia Da Silva refused to wax him. Yaniv argued that the mother of two discriminated against him on the basis of sex and he is now demanding financial restitution. Da Silva, who operated her business out of her own home, said she refused to serve Yaniv due to safety concerns and alleged harassment from him, not because he is transgender.
Da Silva told the tribunal that the ordeal has forced her to shut her business and it is no longer a source of income for her family. She isn’t the only one who has been targeted by Yaniv. The transgender activist also filed complaints against 15 other British Columbian estheticians for refusing to wax his genitalia. According to Jay Cameron, an attorney from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, most of the women are low-income immigrants. “Some of my clients have been significantly affected on a personal level. Another client also closed her business. She has been depressed, anxious, sleepless and that has gone on for a period of many months,” Cameron said.
“It is a very serious thing to launch a human rights complaint against a person. They have a right to make a living and this has interfered with their livelihood, but also they have the stigma of being associated with this hanging over them.” Yaniv told the tribunal that business owners cannot choose who they serve. “You cannot choose who your clientele is going to be,” he said. “This is not about waxing. This is about businesses and individuals using their religion and culture to refuse service to protected groups because they don’t agree with it or the person and use that to illegally discriminate contrary to the BC Human Rights Code and the CHRC,” Yaniv tweeted.