Earlier this month, a male-to-female transgender filed a $50,000 human rights complaint after a Muslim woman refused to perform a Brazilian wax on his genitals. The unnamed transgender person has repeatedly claimed that he called inquiring about a leg wax, but the owner of Mad Wax, the waxing studio based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, insisted the request clearly indicated his interest in a genital wax.
“She never once asked for a leg wax [from] us,” Mad Wax manager, president, and CEO Jason Carruthers told PJ Media. “She said, ‘Women have penises and women have balls and if your staff is not comfortable then they can look for another job.’ That is clearly referring to a brazilian wax, which involves the genitals.”
Carruthers added that the transgender complainant “only mentioned ‘leg wax’ after the story got out. My guess is she was embarrassed to admit she wanted a Brazilian.”
The female Muslim employee refused to provide the service, based on her religious convictions not to physically touch a man outside her family.
The anonymous transgender person filed a $50,000 complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) two weeks ago, seeking compensation for “immense harm to my dignity,” CTV Windsor reported.
The complainant alleged that he called Mad Wax in March to ask about a leg wax. He explicitly asked whether “transgender women” were welcome for waxing services. An employee told him that the manager would follow up.
Carruthers called the transgender complainant, clarifying that his company does not provide waxing services to men. His “waxer,” a Muslim woman, refuses to wax male parts on the basis of her religious convictions that it would violate Sharia (Islamic religious law) to do so. Carruthers also told the complainant that no other staff were available to perform the request.
In the complaint, the unnamed transgender person claimed to have “offered to educate the manager on his duty to accommodate” him.
Carruthers confirmed to CTV Windsor that he received the complaint. He also insisted that his shop does not take part in discrimination.
“All clients regardless of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation are welcome,” Carruthers said. “However, we also welcome staff members and respect their religious beliefs and feelings of safety and dignity in regards to the right not to perform waxing services on males or male genitals.”
The Mad Wax CEO told the Windsor Star that a derogatory video about his business and threats from the complainant have created a destructive and inflammatory “media circus.”
Carruthers said it was clear from his conversation with the transgender complainant that he sought a Brazilian wax, rather than leg waxing, as the complainant has insisted since.
“I have no male wax staff,” the CEO explained. “We are not able to provide that service.”
Carruthers said 98 percent of the spa’s clientele is female, and he employs no male staff. The spa has waxed the arms and backs of male clients, but has never hidden its inability to accommodate a Brazilian wax for a male.
“When we’ve been asked about a male Brazilian wax in the past we tell them we’re not able to provide that service and they move on,” Carruthers told the Windsor Star. “It’s never been an issue.”
The anonymous complainant referred questions to his Toronto lawyer, Megan Evans Maxwell. Maxwell admitted, “There’s not much I can say right now because the matter is before the tribunal.”
Carruthers’ lawyer, Ray Colautti, told the Star that the HRTO will arrange a meeting between both parties and a mediator. If the issue cannot be resolved then, it would move on to an official tribunal hearing.
The transgender complainant insisted in his HRTO complaint that Carutthers’ “refusal to provide me with leg-waxing services because I am a Transgender woman, and their disclosing my name, gender identity and personal information to various media outlets has left me feeling threatened, exposed, with my rights violated in terms of seeking services as a woman in the Windsor-Essex community.”
The Federalist’s Kaeley Triller put the case in stark terms. “Man believes it is his human right to force a woman to wax his body without her consent. Sues for $50k. Holy rape culture,” Triller tweeted.
— Kaeley Triller (@KaeleyT) May 12, 2018
Many prominent legal cases have focused on whether or not privately-owned businesses have a right to opt out of providing specific services based on their religious convictions.
The most high profile case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. That case centers on baker Jack Phillips’ refusal to craft a cake for a same-sex wedding, on the basis that supporting such a wedding violates his religious beliefs and free speech that marriage is between one man and one woman. A California judge recently ruled in favor of a Christian baker in a similar case.
Such cases often revolve around the claim that refusing to serve a same-sex wedding involves discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. Similarly, the unnamed transgender complainant argued that Mad Wax discriminated against him on the basis of his transgender identity, refusing to accept his insistence that he is a female and has a female body.
While the religious freedom and free speech of Christian bakers and wedding-service companies are often rejected out of hand on the basis that their beliefs are part of a powerful majority, Muslim beliefs in Canada and the U.S. cannot be rejected for that reason.
This Muslim woman insists that she will not wax a male body — especially the area around his genitals — even if the man in question says he is a woman. Her religious freedom to opt out of performing this service should be respected, just as the religious freedom and free speech of bakers like Jack Phillips should be respected.
Neither case involves discrimination, but a business’ decision about what services it will provide. Just as Jack Phillips will not bake same-sex wedding cakes (he does gladly sell other cakes to LGBT people), so Mad Wax will not provide Brazilian waxes for men, and the Muslim worker who was the only person available when this transgender complainant called refuses to wax men, based on her religious convictions.
If the HRTO rules that this transgender complainant must be considered a woman and therefore forces Mad Wax to wax his genitals, that would constitute government enforcement of a quasi-religious view of sexuality, and a clear violation of this Muslim woman’s religious freedom.
Transgenderism presents an interesting conundrum for law. Violence against anyone — transgender people emphatically included — should be prosecuted. Even so, many people will reject transgender identity, no matter what politicians say. Law should not force someone to violate his or her conscience in order to establish the idea that someone’s internal identity overrules their biology.
At least in this case, some liberals can champion the religious minority (a Muslim) over the sexual minority (the transgender complainant). Will they refuse to defend religious freedom even in such a case?