A screencap from a Langley Township council meeting this spring of Jessica Yaniv speaking as a delegation.

A screencap from a Langley Township council meeting this spring of Jessica Yaniv speaking as a delegation.

Controversial Langley transgender activist arrested over stun gun

A highly publicized Human Rights Tribunal complaint has drawn notority to the local activist

A transgender activist who has been embroiled in controversy for weeks is facing investigation by the Langley RCMP over an electric stun gun.

Jessica Yaniv confirmed to the Langley Advance Times that she was arrested.

“They were actually really nice,” Yaniv said.

The police went to a North Langley home on Monday, Aug. 5 “responding to information indicating there was a prohibited weapon,” said Cpl. Holly Largy, spokesperson for the Langley RCMP.

One resident was taken into custody and a search warrant was obtained.

Police seized two conductive energy weapons, often known as stun guns or referred to by the brand name Taser.

One canister of pepper spray and one of bear spray were also seized.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said Largy, and charges have not been laid. It is up to the B.C. Prosecution Service to decide whether or not to lay criminal charges.

Yaniv claimed that police were aware of the weapons.

“I’ve had the police here, talking about harassment,” Yaniv said. “I tell them, I have these here. They had no issue with it.”

She also said she has already been told to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on Dec. 5 on charges of possession of a prohibited weapon.

The police seem to have become aware of the weapons thanks to Yaniv’s online activities. She apparently showed one of the energy weapons during a heated online debate with another trans woman in the United States.

A few months ago, Yaniv was largely only known to regular viewers of Langley Township council meetings as a frequent delegate on a variety of topics.

Since then, a BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint she launched has gone public and has pushed her into the public eye.

In July, news outlets – from mainstream publications to a number of far-right websites – picked up the story of her multiple complaints to the BC Human Rights Tribunal over 13 Lower Mainland spas and salons.

Yaniv, a trans woman, alleged discrimination because the spas allegedly refused to offer her waxing services due to her biological sex. Although she has said she was denied arm and leg waxing, among other services, most coverage has focused on the issue of whether the businesses should have to perform intimate waxing services for someone with male genitalia.

Since the cases went public, Yaniv has become embroiled in Twitter feuds with conservative figures, appeared on the radio show of American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and been the subject of dozens of news articles and opinion pieces.

The cases took multiple twists and turns before the panel even held its hearing in July.

Yaniv’s identity was initially protected by a publication ban, following numerous hateful comments at various online sources. One comment Yaniv submitted to the tribunal said she was “A perfect candidate for being lined up against a wall and shot.”

But the tribunal stripped Yaniv of her anonymity in mid-July, after finding she had used her own Twitter account to speak out publicly about the upcoming hearings.

“Taken together, what these tweets demonstrate is that Ms. Yaniv has chosen to engage very publicly about the issues underlying her waxing complaints and, most importantly, about the complaints themselves,” read a tribunal ruling. “There is no purpose served by the tribunal protecting Ms. Yaniv’s identity when she does not feel the need to do so herself.”

Although the tribunal’s rulings have allowed the case to go forward, Yaniv has come in for some criticism herself in the way she dealt with the mostly Indo-Canadian businesses at the centre of the case.

In a May 30 ruling the tribunal’s Devyn Cousineau noted that Yaniv wrote in a submission that “the majority of people in Surrey unfortunately are unproficient in English and do not possess customers service skills.” She also referenced gang violence.

“Such comments, in my view, draw on racial and cultural stereotypes that have no place in this tribunal’s process,” Cousineau wrote.

Laser Cut, one of the businesses involved in an early complaint, alleged that Yaniv was “motivated in part by racism and in part by the expectation of financial gain.”

Cousineau ruled that there was a substantial rights issue before the tribunal.

“Waxing can be critical gender‐affirming care for transgender women. At the same time, it is a very intimate service that is sometimes performed by women who are themselves vulnerable,” Cousineau wrote.

No final decision has been made on the bulk of Yaniv’s tribunal cases.

Before her Human Rights Tribunal cases went viral, Yaniv’s primary local political activity was speaking to Township council.

Her appearances in council chambers covered a grab-bag of issues, including eliminating single-use plastics, ensuring that feminine hygiene products are available in school washrooms, and to request a donation for her campaign for the Miss BC pageant title.

In her June 24th appearance before council, Yaniv arrived in a wheelchair and said that she had a brain tumour.

She was scheduled to appear at the last council meeting of the summer on July 22, but did not appear. She was to speak about an “all-bodies swim” at Township public pools, an issue that recently caused some controversy when a similar swim scheduled for a Langley City pool was postponed and faced online criticism.

A significant number of her appearances at council have covered gender issues, including a delegation asking for an end to gender segregation in physical education classes in the Township.

However, that delegation, and others, covered issues that are under the authority of other governments, such as the Langley School District or the province.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

The B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C. is shown on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Langley to seek COVID-19 infrastructure grants

The provincially-administered funds could be used in flood prevention

Langley’s Maryalice Wood, 71, won Cranberries BC Culinary Contest in October 2020 for her cranberry walnut cheese ball recipe. (Coreen Rodger Berrisford/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley woman creates winning cranberry walnut cheese ball recipe

Maryalice Wood won the Cranberries BC Culinary Contest

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Langley resident disappointed with paper’s lack of Nov. 25 coverage

Reader critical of paper for not covering International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women

Townhouses for sale in the Willoughby neighbourhood of Langley on Dec. 2, 2020. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Houses selling fast in Langley in November

Real estate markets continued to see high sales and rising prices

A Langley high school teacher was handed a one-day suspension for ‘physically intimidating’ Grade 7 student during a basketball game in February of 2016 (Black Press Media file)
Langley high school teacher gets one-day suspension for ‘physically intimidating’ Grade 7 student

Lost his temper because student was using football terms as a joke during basketball game

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read