I wasn’t able to attend Idea City in person this year, but I did participate in a segment dedicated to freedom of speech via a pre-taped interview on the subject with the brilliant journalist Mark Steyn, who has spent decades beating against the current of identity politics and political correctness with trademark audacity and wit.
During our discussion, we talked about Bill C-16, known as the Transgender Rights Bill, and the troubling concept of compelled speech it entrenches into law with regard to gender identity and expression.
Steyn mentioned the “terrible state of comedy” caused by identity politics in general and trans politics. In particular, he cited the story of a trans woman, who still had male genitalia, filing a human rights complaint against a Windsor spa for refusing to give her a Brazilian wax. It wasn’t a case of transphobia. The only waxologist available was a practising Muslim woman who does not touch men other than her relatives. Steyn wryly quipped that this was “objectively hilarious” and “comedy gold,” since if the woman complied with the request, “her husband would have to kill her.”
He’s right that It should be fodder for comedy, but it can’t be nowadays, because the legal implications of gender-identity satire is too intimidating. Certainly the spa owner hit with a Human Rights complaint didn’t see the humour in it.
A B.C. woman I’ll call Suzanne is now in a position similar to the Windsor spa owner, but doesn’t have the compelling Charter-based benefit of religious belief to backup the refusal. There is absolutely nothing funny about what is happening to her. I won’t name her, because the trans woman who has filed a complaint against her – I will call that transwoman Joshua, since she uses another unequivocally masculine name – has given evidence by her behaviour of an agenda (and possible psychological imbalance) that goes way beyond a mere wish to have her genitals waxed, and I would not wish my column to incite further harassment of Suzanne.
Here is the story, which unfolded between this past March and the end of June.
Suzanne is a 20-something aesthetician, a single mother with full responsibility for her two-year old daughter. To optimize her time with her child, she set up an at-home Brazilian waxing business via Facebook. Her Facebook ad specifically noted it was “for women only.” Joshua messaged her and asked about the service, indicating she was a “transitioned” trans woman.
This was awkward for Suzanne, who had to know if he had had bottom surgery. She was concerned as well about the security of her child if she invited this stranger into her home. She does not have a separate waxing room so her little girl would see the male genitalia, not a comfortable thought for Suzanne.
But beyond these considerations, and importantly, Suzanne was not competent to do a “manzillian,” which requires a special skill set. However, due to the sag in the ball sack, you cannot use regular waxing strips on that area, as you might rip the skin.
You might think that someone with intact male organs would not wish to risk such harm, and would be sure to seek a specialist. It therefore became so suspicious to Suzanne that Joshua persisted in messaging her that she blocked him.
At that time Suzanne was still working part time as an aesthetician at a tanning salon. Following her Facebook rejection, Joshua sought out her social media profile, learned this and telephoned her there. Suzanne was by now alarmed, as well she might be. He called the salon twice more in spite of the receptionist’s warning that if he called again, she would call the police. As Suzanne wrote to me, “Now I would simply decline [Joshua’s] request as a safety concern. If a complete stranger is going to look up where you work, and call your work looking for you over a simple wax service that you could not even perform, that is a red flag.”
At that point, Suzanne’s “protective” boyfriend stepped in with Facebook messages to Joshua, demanding that he back off in no uncertain terms (“Please stop harassing my gf or we will take further action (police) she explained to you what she does and does not do. Do not call her work again and don’t bother messaging me back. get a life when someone says no. move on.” And others in that vein).
Joshua then took his case of “discrimination” on the basis of gender identity to the Human Rights Tribunal. An agent with the HRT contacted Suzanne and informed her that Joshua wanted to file a complaint and requested an apology. Suzanne immediately composed and sent an apology, explaining her side of the story to the agent. She heard nothing further from either Joshua or the agent until July, when she was informed a formal complaint had been laid against Suzanne, her boyfriend and the salon (now closed). The hearing date has not been settled – probably later this summer.
Here is the tangled web the government weaves when activists practice to deceive. It doesn’t matter to any of us what is going on in the head of a transwoman. She can believe she is a real woman; that is her right. But it should not be either my social or legal obligation to agree to that premise in words, or to adjust my behaviour so that it indicates agreement with that premise. Just as the old adage has it, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins,” one might equally say, “a transwoman’s right to demand services meant for women only ends with a woman being compelled to touch – or even see – your exposed male genitalia.”
Anyone who thought Bill C-16, the Transgender Rights Bill, was really about pronouns is naïve. Pronouns were meant as the thin end of a language-corrupting wedge which would privilege a theory completely untethered from reality to erode the rights, and even the physical security, of normal people.
And so it is coming to pass. There is reason to believe that Suzanne was entrapped by a political trans activist bent on mischief for its own sake. In late June Suzanne received a letter from a HRT member stating in part that [Joshua’s] “complaint is somewhat unique in that she has filed a large number of complaints of a similar nature.”
It is therefore doubly infuriating that Suzanne must bear the burden of this absurd and unjust intimidation by the state. The complaint should have been dismissed out of hand, as Suzanne was merely acting as any rational and self-protective citizen would in the circumstances. That the complaint is even being considered is a disturbing comment on the erosion of individual rights in this country.