A Vancouver-area registered nurse will face a “unique” and “precedent-setting” seven-day regulatory hearing at the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives commencing this Wednesday for allegedly “making discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people.”
Amy Hamm stirred public debate on sex-based rights and transgender beliefs when, in September 2020, she co-sponsored an “I Love JK Rowling” billboard in Downtown Vancouver in support of author J.K. Rowling, who had previously publicly supported differentiating between transgender women and biological women.
Rowling is now labelled by some trans activists as transphobic and a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” or “TERF” — a moniker Hamm appears to have embraced herself on her social media accounts.
The college says the complaints against Hamm stem from her identifying herself as a registered nurse while making public posts supporting biological females and criticizing transgender women. This, says the college, underpins the forthcoming hearing.
“Between approximately July 2018 and March 2021, you made discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people, while identifying yourself as a nurse or nurse educator. These statements were made across various online platforms, including but not limited to, podcasts, videos, published writings and social media,” states the citation.
In a previous citation, the college accused Hamm of providing medically inaccurate information. But that was dropped by the regulator in July.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom and Ontario-based lawyer Lisa Bildy of Libertas Law are defending Hamm through the hearing.
Bildy says it is her understanding the citation against Hamm has nothing to do with her workplace or professional activities, but rather a result of apparent complaints from members of the public who disagreed with Hamm’s views.
For this reason, Bildy calls Hamm’s case unique and part of a growth in non-patient regulatory complaints about various healthcare professionals, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic.
“The complaints process risks becoming yet another tool for 'cancelling' people whose views are unacceptable to some. And the range of acceptable views is increasingly narrow. For this reason, her case could set an important precedent,” Bildy told Glacier Media by email.
“This case is about whether she is entitled to express her gender critical views while identifying herself as a nurse (which she has since removed from her bio). She does say things like ‘trans women are not women,’ not to be provocative, but to advocate for the continued protection of female spaces, like women's prisons, rape shelters and female sports teams, from male bodied individuals who identify as female.
Bildy went on, saying, “Gender ideology has been supplanting the reality of biological sex, which has real world impacts that she wishes to address in the public square,” said Bildy, on behalf of Hamm.
Hamm declined an interview ahead of the hearing.
In April Hamm wrote a guest opinion piece in Quillette, stating, “In my decade-long nursing career, I have never had a patient complaint, or otherwise received any type of workplace discipline.
“To the contrary, I loved my job and worked my way into leadership roles. I have worked with countless transgender patients. I am not transphobic by any reasonable or defensible definition of that word. Yet I now could lose my job because activists claim that I am a bigot.”
One of Hamm’s accusers remains anonymous, claiming Hamm will retaliate, she said.
The Justice Centre stated July 10 the College could have screened out the complaints on the basis that they were vexatious. Instead, a 332-page report comprised of tweets and articles by Hamm was produced, according to the group. Bildy says the college investigated for seven months.
Hamm claims to have continued to work during her investigation at a time a nursing shortage contributed to a crisis in healthcare access across B.C.
It’s unclear how Hamm would be disciplined should she be found of misconduct by the hearing panel, although a suspension is one possibility.
The hearing runs three days in September and four in October, until October 27.
Glacier Media asked for supporting documents or affidavits for the claims made against Hamm but was refused on privacy grounds.