How did we get from gay cakes to junk waxing?
IT MAY sound fantastical, but the story of a transgender woman who has hauled more than a dozen women to the human rights tribunal for refusing to tackle her, erm, tackle could happen right here in Australia.
Let me explain. Jessica Yaniv is a Canadian activist who identifies as a woman, yet has male genitalia.
Her case sparked headlines around the world after she lodged anti-discrimination complaints against 16 beauticians - many of them migrant women of colour from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds - who refused to acquiesce to her ridiculous demand for a Brazilian-style wax.
Several of these professionals pointed out they were not trained to wax her body parts. Others proclaimed it went against their faith to touch male sexual organs that don't belong to their husband.
Yet that hasn't stopped Yaniv from seeking financial damages ranging up to AUD $36,000 from each of the providers.
Perhaps this is only the natural climax of other kinds of LGBTI activism-driven discrimination action, most notably those notorious overseas cases of Christian bakers being dragged to court for refusing to make cakes for same-sex couples.
Back home, we've seen the legal persecution of a Perth-based Christian photographer Jason Tey, after he agreed to photograph a lesbian couple's children but told them maybe they'd be more comfortable hiring someone else who didn't have a "conflict of belief."
After seven long months, which were to culminate in a hearing before the WA State Administrative Tribunal in February, the court action was finally withdrawn.
How in God's name did we go from "bake my cake" to "wax my junk"?
The legal push around the world, including in Australia, to recognise gender as completely fluid may be largely to thank for this bizarre state of affairs.
In Canada, Bill C-16 was passed into law in June 2017, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression and extending hate speech provisions to transgender people.
It was this legislation that propelled psychologist Jordan Peterson to rock-star status after he argued it was "compelled speech" that would see people like himself penalised for refusing to use specific pronouns to refer to gender-diverse people.
Then in April, Tasmania's parliament passed landmark reforms making the inclusion of a child's sex on birth certificates optional and removing the requirement for trans people to have sexual reassignment surgery to have their new gender recognised, instead simply allowing self-identification.
The legislation also prevents hate speech and "offensive language", which discriminates against people on the basis of their gender identity, something critics here liken to compelled speech as well.
Victoria is currently considering similar legislation under reforms put up by the Andrews government, which would also allow pre-op trans women like Yaniv to change their gender on their birth certificate, even if they've undergone no surgery or medical treatment.
University of Melbourne philosopher Holly Lawford-Smith told The Australian that such a law could lead to anti-discrimination action when a trans woman with male genitalia is "excluded from being hired to fit clothing to women in a shop, or from admission to a girls' school, or to a women's room in a dormitory, or hospital ward … you name it, if it's women-only, there could be a case."
The unavoidable consequence here is that biologically-born women, including some from the most marginalised communities, are being pitted against trans women.
We've already seen high-profile women cop extraordinary abuse for pointing out how this trend is disadvantaging, even endangering, women.
Lawford-Smith was derided as a "TERF" (the insult du-jour meaning "trans-exclusionary radical feminist") and bigot for daring to argue the case for excluding all male people, regardless of gender identity, from female-only or lesbian-only spaces at a Wollongong University talk earlier this month, with activist academics attempting to have her shut down.
Even gay tennis legend Martina Navratilova, an active campaigner for LGBTI rights who has previously accused Margaret Court of being a "racist and homophobe" and "demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere", is not immune.
Although it was only a matter of time, Navratilova was shocked to recently find herself the favoured target of the perpetually offended, attacked as a "terf" and "transphobe" after she tweeted - quite reasonably - in December: "You can't just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard."
Perhaps the most surprising consequence of the #WaxHerBalls case (yes, that's how it's being referred to online) has been even left-wing publications are waking up to the fact the transgender rights movement has gone way too far.
"It's not a hate crime for a woman to feel uncomfortable waxing male genitalia," read the headline of a think piece run in The Guardian over the weekend.
The chilling effect of the Yaniv case and all this new state legislation is the gradual erasure of women from their own spaces, essentially forcing them to either handle or be exposed to penises, or to get out.
Caroline Marcus is a senior reporter with Sky News.