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Disciplinary ordeal continues for nurse who backed J.K. Rowling

Hamm was finally allowed to testify in her own defence this week. Credit: Amy Hamm/X

November 9, 2023 - 7:00am

Canadian nurse Amy Hamm first learnt she was under investigation three years ago this month for making “discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people, while identifying [her]self as a nurse or nurse educator”. The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives claimed that Hamm’s off-duty conduct violated the regulatory body’s professional standards around responsibility and accountability, client-focused provision of service, and ethical practice. 

The resulting disciplinary process has now consumed years of the nurse’s life. Hearings in her case have been strung out across 21 days of testimony between September 2022 and November 2023, punctuated with months-long gaps. Hamm’s nursing licence and livelihood hang in the balance. 

So what exactly did she do to warrant such an investigation? In the summer of 2020, Hamm helped co-sponsor an “I ♥ JK Rowling” billboard in Vancouver. She also tweeted and wrote publicly about her concerns around the loss of women-only services and spaces in her free time. 

Three years after Hamm’s ordeal began, she was finally allowed to testify in her own defence this week. After Tuesday’s proceedings adjourned, she sent the following tweet: 

https://twitter.com/preta_6/status/1721997417149870569

In a statement last year, one of Hamm’s lawyers, Lisa Bildy, said that the case is “fundamentally about speech: whether a nurse can publicly debate a topic that is as politically charged as this one […] This case will set an important precedent for regulated professionals who engage in the public square in policy debates which may be contentious, as it seems virtually everything is in these times.” 

Hamm testified that she “always kept [her] private life and [her] political views and private views very separate from [her] work life”. When at work, she said, “I’m there to do my job and to follow the policies of the organisation. Whether or not I agree with certain policies, I limit my advocacy in terms of changing things to when I’m outside of work.” 

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms warned that “professional misconduct must not be permitted to be redefined to include speaking unpopular truths” — in this case, unpopular truths that bear directly on Hamm’s medical training and responsibilities as a nurse and nurse educator. Hamm knows that sex is observed, not “assigned”, at birth. Her case highlights the contradictory expectations professionals in her position face: to pretend to go along with a strange new set of beliefs about sex and gender without forgetting her nursing training, in which sex is not a postmodern riddle but rather a constantly relevant factor in medical evaluation and treatment. 

The disciplinary process is so drawn out and absurd that it could almost serve as a theatre piece for our times — from the actors (Hamm’s lawyers are up against a self-described “old white cisgender queer lawyer with disabilities” who spells her name without any capital letters) to the dialogue to the reviews. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage has been predictably partisan, as indicated by the headline of  a recent piece about her case: “Nurse tells B.C. hearing she’s not transphobic, but calls gender identity ‘metaphysical nonsense.’” The CBC is eager to reprint Hamm’s occasionally insensitive tweets but reluctant to give airtime to the substance of her case. 

When philosopher Kathleen Stock and athletic coach Linda Blade testified as expert witnesses on Hamm’s behalf, opposing counsel declined to ask either woman a single question, perhaps fearing any elaboration on the common-sense views they share with Hamm. “We’ve had language for boys and girls, men and women, since the beginning of time,” Stock testified on Tuesday. “Biology hasn’t gone away” — something a nurse should know better than anyone — “but all of us have lost the ability to freely refer to facts about ourselves, important facts, for instance that we are a sexually dimorphic species.”

Hamm’s ordeal isn’t over yet. After testimony concluded on Wednesday afternoon, the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives announced that the process will stretch until at least February 2024. Any victory will have come at a significant cost. 


Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.

elizamondegreen

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

It’s a disgrace. I’m embarrassed to call myself Canadian. Same thing is happening with Jordan Peterson and the association representing psychologists in Ontario. Modern day witch hunts. Two synagogues were fire bombed in Montreal the other day, but the real haters are nurses with an opinion. One story the CBC missed was the 50 year old man competing against 14 year old girls at a swim meet just outside of Toronto. It feels like we’re doomed.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The entire English speaking world has gone mad, Jim.
We’re in a race to the bottom and Canada just happens to be in a strong position.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s life Jim but not as we know it.

Graham Bennett
Graham Bennett
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Unfortunately, Canada is a very bad place for this kind of thing – perhaps the worst. Given its identity problems vis-a-vis the US, it’s in an internecine tusstle to the bottom with the US on this kind of nonsense. It’s not pretty, and will end in tears.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Has Dr. P been sent to room 101 yet? Last I heard he had decided to accept his ‘therapy’. I sure hope he does, the tale should be rich reading. How many fingers, Jordan?

Simon
Simon
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The good news is that opposing counsel’s refusal to cross examine Kathleen Stock and Linda Blade is tantamount (in any serious tribunal) to accepting the testimony, though, as we’re dealing with Canada, my parenthetical qualification might be determinative.

Chipoko
Chipoko
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s no better in the UK, Jim.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
8 months ago

The Transatollahs must be having a bunch of difficulty here.

Their ‘hit piece’ on Amy Hann calls her an ‘extremist’ in the first line and adduces ‘evidence’ in support of this loopy notion:

1. that she likes the idea of small-town 1950s America

2. that she is divorced

3. that she had the temerity to refuse to accept a patronising punishment including suspension and ‘social media training’ – a category which we must assume involves reciting delusions in public.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dumetrius
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
8 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

But … that would be so much fun: “I poisoned the water supply. I contracted syphilis so as to spread it to Party members. …”

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago

THe transgender debate is one more prong on the trident of Queer Theory. QT is not about queer rights so much as the queering of society. One of its aims is to disband the family unit as proven by recent arguments made by queer theorists who believe that children should be taken away from parents who don’t subscribe to the LGBQT agenda. We underestimate how many of these theorist-activists hold authority in our institutions.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Gender critical and wholly agreed on queer theory. Also lesbian, like Kathleen Stock, Julie Bindel and others on the front lines opposing this nonsense and standing with those it persecutes. Please don’t perpetuate the fallacy of “LGB(TQ+)” anything. The forced teaming of gay rights with this movement — particularly harmful to women, and especially lesbians — should be rejected as the lie it is.
These are mostly male transactivists — many, straight autogynephiles — whose self-interest and financial backing have captured organizations that once stood for women and gays. We have no “agenda” in common, and the “rights” they claim run roughshod over our own. Uncritical use of acronyms that nonetheless align the legitimate gay rights movement with the madness of gender ideology only helps advance their cause, as they well know.

Last edited 8 months ago by Colorado UnHerd
R M
R M
8 months ago

If there wasn’t so much at stake, this would all be absurdly hilarious.
That a medical professional should be censured for stating that you cannot literally change your sex is not merely stepping through the looking glass, but then smashing the looking glass with a massive hammer so nobody can ever get back.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago
Reply to  R M

Indeed. The purpose of all this is to deconstruct concepts such as truth and objectivity in order to replace these with an alternate reality decided by those who desire power over us.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
8 months ago
Reply to  R M

And many of those medical professionals who do advocate that people can change se x – and in doing so allow their faith in gender identity ideology to eclipse their understanding of science – are careful not to allow such arguments to take precedence under those circumstances where treating a male as if they were a female (or vice versa) would result in medical malpractice and / or do the patient real medical harm.
It’s almost as though they want to appear progressive and inclusive and supportive and all those other lovely, nebulous, touchy-feely qualities, yet secretly know that changing se x / being ‘born in the wrong body’ are not real.

Last edited 8 months ago by Huw Parker
John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago

I’m sure this poor woman will eventually win her case and deservedly so.

What I’ll also be interested to know is if she’ll get compensated, who will pay that compensation, who will pay the predictably enormous costs of the case on both sides, and who – if anyone – will actually lose their jobs as a consequence of having wasted the time and effort arguing over something so dementedly stupid.

My prediction is that of course nobody will get fired and the taxpayer will be paying for all of it.

Graham Bennett
Graham Bennett
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Unfortunately, too true. I have never seen or heard of an example where anyone who has brought a vexatious case from the illiberal Left has been held accountable when they lose or are found to be wrong. Can anyone think of one? This sends the message that you can bring such complaints/cases, however frivolous, with total impunity. No wonder society is in the situation it is.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Bennett

The process is the punishment.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 months ago

This person is the reason that I am an activist opposing the trans insanity. There is truth out there. The truth is that sex exists, and cannot be changed. When the false and delusional beliefs of a small number of lunatics are used to destroy normal people, we must rise up and laugh at these fools, and stop their insane delusion.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
8 months ago

This mindless attack on free speech, science, and basic, observable reality is going to go down in history as an absolute witch hunt, hysterical in both senses of the term except that in reality it isn’t funny at all.

Sandra Currie
Sandra Currie
8 months ago

If gender critical views are not allowed to be spoken publicly by those working in the education and medical systems, the media and government, then the only people who can speak without risking censure from their employers are retired people and entrepreneurs. The rest of you just lost a basic human right. Welcome to totalitarianism.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago

It’s Canada. Enough said.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
8 months ago

Thank you so much, Eliza, for following this case and reporting about it so cogently. I hope this will be read and shared by as many people as possible. Hamm is courageous, articulate, and committed to the truth. As many have said, the process is the punishment, and Hamm’s ordeal is proof positive of this.

lisa gillis
lisa gillis
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan Scheid

Hi from Canada where I live : my own relative is expects me to call her fiend a ” she” he’s trans.i can’t hurt his feelings I guess Why can’t we keep our free speech? It’s good she’s in court this nurse .so absurd she wants women’s bathrooms changing areas off limits to males ,as in people with male genitals.Thats common sense.I dont want men in my change room either

Ian L
Ian L
8 months ago
Reply to  lisa gillis

I don’t play along and simply use the person’s name every single time I refer to them. If thats a girl’s name then fine, but I avoid pronouns altogether by choosing a different way to phrase a sentence.

If you’re talking to the person use their name or ‘you’.

You only use pronouns when talking about someone, so don’t talk about them very much, or deploy the name, even if it’s repetitive.

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
8 months ago

Everyone should follow these witch-trials online. An ordeal for the brave accused but invariably fascinating for those of us watching. In Court, no one can hear you scream TWAW.

Brava, Amy. And thank you.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

Can we stop calling ourselves ‘gender critical’ as if it’s just one possible view among others rather than just reality?

Ralph B
Ralph B
8 months ago

Perhaps she just needs to contextualize her statements for everyone since that seems to be the word du jour.

Graham Bennett
Graham Bennett
8 months ago
Reply to  Ralph B

Yes, but of course only Left are given the privilege of context.

Waffles
Waffles
8 months ago

What happened to the doctors and nurses who publicly expressed support for Hamas? I’m not aware of any inquiries, or long drawn out investigations. It’s all gone quiet for them.

So it seems that supporting terrorists whose public aims are the extermination of the Jews, followed by the conquest of the entire world so that a Global Caliphate can be imposed by force – that’s A OK. But saying that women don’t have a p***s? Outrageous! Cast out the Unbeliever!

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago

When CBC starts its ‘right on’ view, why not turn off the television for five minutes: the equivalent of turning one’s back. Wouldn’t that show up in some statistics and give pause for thought?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

They only get viewing figures from a tiny proportion of the population who have been recruited onto the viewing panel and agreed to have their viewing monitored. In UK its around 8000 households in a population of c66 million.