Out in British Columbia a lone Twitter account, @goinglikeelsie, (account locked at time of writing) is covering three linked cases being considered by the province’s human rights tribunal.
The plaintiff in all three cases is ‘JY’, and the tribunal has ruled that coverage of the cases may not reveal JY’s identity, or provide enough information to allow JY to be identified.
The identity of JY is, nevertheless, widely known. They are male-born, but since starting to identify, at least part of the time, as female they have become infamous for bringing legal cases against 16 female beauticians who have refused to provide them with genital waxing services. It is JY’s contention that those who have refused to provide the service are guilty of discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, a protected characteristic with regards to the provision of services under Canadian law.
Elsie is tweeting her notes on three of these cases, that the tribunal are hearing as joined, with a single decision that the end.
You can read the story so far here
With no disrespect to Elsie, she is not a journalist. Her notes are confusing, as she tries to navigate the restrictions around what can be made public, she has to back-track and correct herself and even complains that she has no notes at one point because her pen had run out.
Yet she is a hero.
She’s a hero because, without her, nobody would know what was happening, or probably even that the hearings were going on.
These hearings are a first step in determining if there is a hierarchy of human rights. Can a man’s right to say that he is now a woman override a woman’s objection to intimate handling of a male body? Does it override a woman’s right to assert that her religious or moral beliefs say that she shouldn’t be touching a man in that area? Does it override her professional concern that she is not trained to provide a potentially painful and injurious service to somebody who has male anatomy?
In short, Canadian law has said that everybody has the right to decide for themselves whether they are male or female, and it must now decide whether that also gives them the right to be universally believed, irrespective of the beliefs of others or evidence to the contrary.
And there’s nobody from the press covering the case.
What seems even stranger at first glance is that yesterday a trans-rights activist called on other activists to mass-report Elsie’s Twitter account, to try to get it closed down.
When she’s simply reporting – without editorial comment – the events of a tribunal which is fundamental to the rights of trans people in Canada, you might think that they’d want her voice amplified, so that the world can watch.
They don’t because they don’t want the world to hear about JY because, according to them, JY doesn’t exist.
JY doesn’t exist, because the cornerstones of their argument for an easier path to gender recognition in the UK are that it doesn’t cause any problems, men will not abuse easy self-identification of gender, that men choosing to transition aren’t motivated by fetishism, and that the rights of women are not diminished by trans rights.
My god, JY must be embarrassment to them.
Aside from the 3 cases being considered together, JY has brought numerous similar cases, either being paid off by beauticians worried about expensive legal cases, or backing down themselves if the defendants have obtained legal representation.
JY also has a well-document fetish related to tampons and has, in the three cases presented, asked if genital waxing will be possible while they have a tampon inserted. The tribunal has already ascertained that JY has male genitalia, and does not also have female genitalia. They appear not to have questioned too closely where JY is planning to insert the tampon. This may be for the best.
The tribunal has also establish JY’s pattern of approaching the female service providers initially from their social media account with a male photo, then asking for the same services from accounts with female profile pictures (not of JY).
In his view, JY is fighting for LGBTQI+ rights, a campaign they pat themselves on the back for even when composing fake threats to themselves.
In the cold light of a court it looks a lot more like JY is using the law for personal gain, both financial and reputational, and mainly to bully women, especially minority women. Fighting in court to push back their personal boundaries as to what they believe, what their religion permits, what they are qualified to do.
JY is standing there, living proof that self-identification is enormously problematic, and that the rights it affords aren’t a game where everyone can win and nobody loses. JY is a man playing the system for their own gratification and amusement, and the world needs to see the problems.
Instead, we’ve got a single, brave, woman, tweeting her imperfect notes while trans activists attempt to tear her down.
We need to listen to her.