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Can Lesbians Have Penises?

The British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal held hearings last week to decide whether female estheticians had discriminated against Jonathan/Jessica Yaniv — a self-identified transgender woman — by declining to wax his scrotum. (More on that here.) The Economist’s Helen Joyce has written a detailed and devastatingly logical critique of the case for Quillette which I thoroughly recommend, though her analysis at the end is quite terrifying.

In her piece, Joyce also details evidence given by Jay Cameron, the lawyer representing three of the accused women:

Cameron presented evidence to the tribunal that included social-media posts in which Yaniv talked about using women’s public facilities, such as toilets and a gym, and asked for advice on matters of etiquette—such as when it might be appropriate to approach a pre-teen girl to ask for a tampon, or whether it might be okay to accompany such a girl into a stall to show her how to use it. (Yaniv claims that such messages came from hacked accounts, but has provided no proof in this regard.)

 Additionally, The Daily Mail reports that a 20-year-old woman, Jessica Rumpel, has “come forward to accuse Yaniv of sending her sexually inappropriate messages when she was just 14.” Rumpel has confirmed that she’s filed a child exploitation report with Canada’s tipline, though not yet heard back. In the interest of evenhandedness, the Mail explains Yaniv’s side of the story and refers to him by his preferred gender pronouns:

Yaniv, who identifies as a lesbian, has said she doesn’t know Rumpel and suggested someone posing as her may have contacted her. Rumpel however shared Twitter messages from 2014 that appear to have come from Yaniv’s current verified account.

Remember that Yaniv, “who identifies as a lesbian,” has a penis. Can lesbians have penises? And what about the phrase “her scrotum,” is there anything odd about that?


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