Jessica Yaniv, a self-described “trans/LGBT activist” from Vancouver, Canada has made a name for herself. There are actually many claims to fame to pick from in examining this person. Yaniv promoted a topless pool party for teenagers where she discouraged parents and guardians to attend. She sent young girls repulsive and fetishistic material. Yaniv also crammed herself, pre-social and physical transition, in women’s restrooms. Once in them, she photographed herself with young girls in the background. On top of that, she also has a habit of calling salon artists to Canadian human rights tribunals in an attempt to shut down their salons. All because they refuse to wax her testicles. As a result, the internet and the media went ablaze with panic, and rightfully so. But, there was one type of panic that is absolutely not warranted in this situation. Trans panic.
Responses to Jessica Yaniv
When the story of Yaniv and her actions broke, the media was eager to take up eye-catching angles. There were a few consistent positions here. The first one, which mostly conservatives chose, was that Jessica Yaniv is representative of a particular problem among trans people. Their position is essentially that she is a predator because she has the affliction of transness. At best they throw out barely passable statistics on the rates of “trans-related” sexual violence. More progressive angles, on the other hand, tend to either flat out defend Yaniv’s deplorable actions or suggest that it is the responsibility of the trans or LGBT community to condemn Yaniv or even dismiss her transsexuality.
All of these positions are flawed in one way or another. The first and probably most sinister conservative position is blaming Jessica’s predation on her transness alone. Everyone considers this type of thinking flawed when it comes to things like race or gender. It would be absurd to say that a Thai serial killer’s national origin causes his tendency to murder. To suggest an individual woman’s laziness is caused by her womanhood is equally ridiculous. Here’s something I can guarantee conservatives will agree with; a conservative who commits a terror attack, does not warrant dismissing conservatives as violent. Likewise, trans people are a group like any other. It only logically follows that there will be bad people who also happen to be trans.
Second, statistics without elaboration, however accurate they may or may not be, matter very little. For example, take the tired line that blacks commit 54% of homicides despite making up 13% of the population. FBI data does confirm this. But all anyone can prove by cracking open this old chestnut is that blacks are both 13% of the population and commit 52% of homicides. Any suggestions about a link between these two numbers would need elaboration and reasoning; most of the people presenting these “gotcha” statistics cannot or are not providing it.
Similarly, presenting a figure positing a relation to transness and sexual abuse tells people very little. This is for the simple fact that correlation does not equal causation. Not to mention, the claim people usually present beside this is that being trans “is a mental illness” rather than the treatment for the mental illness, gender dysphoria. This is not enough to dismiss their claim entirely, but it shows a stark lack of practical knowledge about trans people.
Onto the progressive side of the aisle, it is clear these news outlets are well-intentioned and want the best for trans people. However, intentions mean nothing when the results are ostracization and misrepresentation. In what is presumably an attempt to separate trans people from the actions of Yaniv when some have tried to sew them together, some publications have chosen to ignore or justify her deeds. Despite the excuses she displayed on Twitter and on a live-stream she did with YouTuber Blaire White falling flat, some people treat them as veils good enough to absolve trans people from an unfortunate association.
Not Representing the LGBT
In LGBT media, perhaps the most popular position in relation to this scandal is claiming that it’s the duty of trans or LGBT people, as a group, to renounce Yaniv. This is in an effort to separate trans and LGBT people from her despicable actions. But the attempt to ostracise Yaniv from the “trans/LGBT community” implies that she was in it in the first place. It implies there exists a conglomerate of LGBT people united by things outside of sexuality or creative taste in gender expression.
The “LGBT Community”, on a concrete level, doesn’t exist. There are communities of LGBT people, but lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transexuals are not a community; they’re a demographic. Black news outlets do not call for the renouncement of black criminals because “the black community” has a responsibility to keep a spotless image. Why should LGBT people?
Jessica Yaniv: Legitimately Trans?
The final and strangest and most inaccurate position members of the progressive media tended to take up, is a vague type of metaphysical conjecture around the validity and legitimacy of Yaniv’s transness. This is not only likely inaccurate and out of touch, but it’s also pretty bigoted, not to Yaniv, but to trans people as a group. Yaniv is on hormones, and despite starting her transition recently, is still medically, legally, and socially trans. She also likely does have gender dysphoria. But all this is irrelevant. It’s a tactic that groups use against their own members. It may not be in response to such a grotesque person, but it’s not uncommon to see black or gay people have their “identity cards” revoked for their bad or unsavory actions.
Jessica Yaniv’s transness impacts her capacity to harm and harass children in a non-existent way. Her medical condition does not cause her predation. So, it is more than irresponsible to reduce a medical condition with psychological implications to something with a validity that is so easy to strip.
Just Another Despicable Person
At the end of the day, Jessica Yaniv is just a person: a nauseating and predatory person, but a person nonetheless. She is not a representative of trans people no more than she is a representative of white people, Canadians, or leftists. It is unfair and squarely inaccurate to present her as such.
Jessica Yaniv doesn’t represent the trans or LGBT community because she represents no one at all. Left-wing or progressive news outlets shouldn’t be correcting conservative trans-based outrage by inadvertently feeding into it. These outlets need to be responding not just with cries of misrepresentation, but with the clear-headed argument that trans and LGBT people are not groups to have representatives in the first place. Yaniv is undeniably a predator that the world, not just the trans community, has a responsibility to chase into exile. This, not for the sake of any community, but for the safety of innocent children.
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