OPINION: Report From Canada — Some Women Have Balls


Terrence Heinrichs Professor Emeritus, York University, Canada
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A man walks into a waxing salon in Windsor, Ontario, and demands a Brazilian genital wax from a Muslim woman attendant.  She balks at the idea, citing religious convictions which do not permit her to touch males not members of her family.

The man, unsatisfied and citing “immense harm to his dignity,” files a $50,000 human rights complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). 

What’s wrong with this story?

For one thing, he says he is not a man; he claims he’s a woman. For another, he said he only asked for a leg wax. According to the owner, however, he went from Brazilian to leg only after the story became public. Moreover, when his demand for a Brazilian was rejected, the complainant apparently said: “Women have penises and women have balls, and if your staff is not comfortable, then they can look for another job” because “a brazilian [sic] wax … involves the genitals.”

Nevertheless, the owner noted, the company, “Mad Wax,” has no male employees and doesn’t perform the specific service demanded.

Twenty years ago, when biological men were still assumed to be men, the complainant probably would have been booted out on his butt. But in any case, even given his delusions, he likely would never have thought to launch a complaint because, in those “backward” days, the tribunal of record was not empowered to consider it, not having yet been tasked to accept complaints based on “gender identity or gender expression.”

In today’s imaginary reality, “Be all that you can be” has become, “You can be anything you want to be,” and, if anyone says you aren’t, they can be waxed themselves.

In support of such delusions, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has defined gender identity as “each person’s internal and individual experience of gender … their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum.”

Fines and possible imprisonment face anyone who refuses to conform.

In keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code, the complainant argued that Mad Wax discriminated against him on the basis of his transgender identity for refusing to accept his insistence that he is female (his “gender identity”) and has a “female” body (his “gender expression”) even though he “presents” to Mad Wax (and to the rest of the world) as a man with balls. 

But women can’t have balls, can they? Well, some strong women have been said to have them but only in a metaphorical sense. And apparently, a 14-year-old girl in Australia was born with two internal testicles that never descended, leaving her with lumps in her abdomen; nonetheless, even she doesn’t present as a boy.

But given that it is obviously absurd to think that women have balls in any non-metaphorical sense, why would otherwise intelligent people treat the idea as anything but a delusion?

Apparently, for such folks, the idea is that gender is fluid. Indeed, according to Facebook, the “gender spectrum” contains anywhere from 58 to 71 genders with which to identify! Your gender is who or what you feel or think you are.

Some people believe no serious harm comes from such delusions; others, however, have taken bodily delusions to sad and frightful lengths, even severing healthy limbs they believe are foreign to them.

Whether one agrees such “gendered” identities are delusions, the conflict of rights in the Mad Wax case is real. The clash is between the complainant’s right not to be discriminated against because of his gender identity (female) vs. the respondent’s right not to be forced to violate her religious faith.

But simply specifying a rights conflict in the context of today’s oppression Olympics doesn’t necessarily determine its resolution, particularly since there is no ready-made rights hierarchy to guide the Commission.

Imagine trying to decide a waxing conflict between a black, disabled, lesbian Christian waxer and an Asian, transgender, transabled, Jewish, “two-spirited” waxee? Even the wise Solomon would beg off on this one.

So, because there is no clear rights hierarchy here, how should the adjudicators rule? Are their fancies tickled by the complaint of the exotic “woman” with balls or by the response of the devout devotee of Islam?

Common sense suggests it send the “woman” with balls walking because there are non-Muslim “waxers” in other shops that would likely do as asked — but common sense does not necessarily govern the actions of the Commission or its tribunals today.

A possible resolution might be found in the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in the recent Trinity Western University (TWU) cases that struck down as a violation of the rights of LGBT+ individuals a covenant required by the University that unmarried students remain celibate during their tenure there.

In reasons deficient in both logic and substance, the Court granted that TWU’s religious liberty (Christianity) was violated, but contended that the limitation was of minor significance next to the “inequitable impact” of the covenant (married heterosexuals were permitted to have sex but not unmarried homosexuals) and its “significant harm.” (Just as the waxing complainant, who could get waxed by other waxing establishments, self-excluded individuals who had only 23 more Canadian law schools to attend!)

So, the wind in Canada is blowing against “diversity” in law school choices and towards depriving individuals of the very opportunity to choose. Not to worry — the High Priests of identity politics argue, because the Covenant is not really an essential part of Christian dogma anyway — and, of course, who better to know than those whose Priesthood is secular?

Given the current Canadian political climate, I’m putting my money on religion in the waxing dispute—but only because the religion at issue is Islam. Were the Mad Wax attendant Christian, I doubt, given the times, she would be successful.

Dr. Terrence Heinrichs is Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Political Science at Glendon College at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.