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How a Brazilian bikini wax ended up in a Human Rights Tribunal.

A Canadian trans woman has filed a number of human rights complaints against salons for refusing her a bikini wax because of her gender identity.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) is expected to take months to rule in the case brought forward by Jessica Yaniv, who claims she has been discriminated against by more than a dozen estheticians who denied her services because she is transgender.

Last week, Yaniv testified before the B.C Human Rights Tribunal. She said she approached the 16 businesses via Facebook Marketplace including many that implied they provided services to both men and women. She said she was denied bookings when they discovered she was trans.

She said she has been denied “gender-affirming” services including intimate waxing, as well as facials, haircuts, pedicures and arm and leg waxing.

“I’ve had to approach 16 salons because I was refused from every single one,” Yaniv told Global News. “None of these providers had any issue until I mentioned I’m transgender… it’s systemic.”

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For months, the BCHRT have been conducting hearings into the complaints against each of the salons and estheticians.

In response to the complaints, several estheticians said they did not have the training required for waxing male genitals, or that they were not comfortable doing so for religious or personal reasons, CBC News reported.

The Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom is representing five of those named by Yaniv. Lawyer Jay Cameron said his clients – some of whom work out of their homes – have never offered male genitalia waxing services and should not be forced to do so.

“A woman cannot be compelled to wax physiologically male genitals against her will and that it would be improper for the state to compel women to do that,” he said.

In British Columbia, the human rights code states a person must not “discriminate against a person or class of persons regarding any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or class of persons”.

Previously, Yaniv had filed a complaint against waxing salon Laser Cut but withdrew it, receiving a cost penalty of $150 from the tribunal.

Yaniv is seeking compensation of CA$25,000 for at least one salon and $7500 from an independent esthetician.

She wants the BCHRT to state that the refusal of waxing services is discriminatory and prohibited.

“It’s not about the service at all,” said Yaniv after the hearing concluded last week. “When you start discriminating against certain service elements and certain protected classes that’s when we really have an issue.”

The tribunal will make its decision within three months.

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