Transgender woman ordered to pay over her rights complaint about body waxing

VANCOUVER — B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal says a transgender woman attempted to use it as a "weapon to extort or bully another person" into a financial settlement and has ordered she pay $6,000 to those she accused.

Jessica Yaniv filed a complaint against seven women and companies that refused to wax the hair from her male genitals, while others wouldn't wax her arms or legs.

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In a ruling issued Tuesday, tribunal member Devyn Cousineau says evidence presented at a hearing shows there is a difference in waxing different types of genitals and because it's an intimate procedure, service providers must agree to provide the service.

She says Yaniv had a pattern of filing human rights complaints that target small businesses for personal financial gain and to punish certain ethnic groups that she perceives as hostile to the rights of LGBTQ people.

The decision says Yaniv demanded $500,000 in costs, which Cousineau said was "completely divorced from reality or reason," and part of a tactic to pressure those she accused to settle.

Yaniv has been ordered to pay $2,000 each to the three respondents who defended themselves during the hearing.

The ruling says Yaniv misled the tribunal, was untruthful on the central aspect of her complaint, engaged in "extortionate behaviour" and made "scurrilous attacks" on one of the respondents.

"In all the circumstances I am satisfied that $6,000 strikes the right balance in expressing the tribunal’s condemnation of Ms. Yaniv’s conduct while not exacting too harsh a punishment on her," the ruling says.

Yaniv has already faced serious consequences as a result of the complaints, the ruling says, which was a factor in weighing the lower financial award levied by the tribunal.

"Once her identity and role in these complaints was revealed, she faced a torrent of backlash and hatred, and from that point onward was representing herself in very difficult circumstances."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2019.

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