EXCLUSIVE: College of Nurses accuses defense witnesses of 'transphobia' in case of BC nurse facing firing for belief in biological sex

College of Nurses & Midwives counsel Barbara Findlay called into question the credentials of Drs. Kathleen Stock, Linda Blade, Miriam Grossman, and single-sex prison advocate Heather Mason on the basis of "transphobia."

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

On days 4 and 5 of the eleven-day hearing of a Canadian nurse under investigation for allegedly transphobic off-duty activity, legal counsel for the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) attempted to discredit all defense witnesses on the basis of "transphobia," the definition of which is at the heart of this case.

The legal counsel for Amy Hamm, a nurse in British Columbia who is facing the possible loss of her nursing license after complaints were made about her social media activity, intends to call Drs. Kathleen Stock, Linda Blade, Miriam Grossman, and single-sex prison advocate Heather Mason to testify as experts before the committee, but Barbara Findlay, counsel for the BCCNM spent several hours trying to call into question their credentials.

The case against Hamm is that her public participation in the debate surrounding the conflict between women's rights and trans rights, while identifying herself as a nurse, could result in transgender people not seeking healthcare for fear of being mistreated or experiencing transphobia. The accusations of "transphobia" made against Hamm were anonymous.

Some of Hamm's allegedly transphobic comments found during the investigation relate to her opposition to male criminals self-identifying as women and being housed in women's prisons, the Vancouver Rape Relief shelter losing funding for having a females-only policy, and the detrimental impact of allowing males to compete in women's sports.

While three out of four of these witnesses have professional qualifications and extensive experience related to the matter being examined, and Mason, has extensive knowledge of the issue, the counsel for the BCCNM did not appear to value any of their expertise.

Dr. Blade is a former Canadian champion athlete with a PhD in Kinesiology, who is currently a sports performance professional coach. Blade also co-wrote the book Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport with Canadian journalist Barbara Kay. 

Findlay repeatedly referred to Dr. Blade as Ms. Blade whilst trying to discredit her. Bildy objected to Bauer being asked to give her opinion on Blade's qualifications, stating that it should be a matter for the committee to decide, not the witness with no legal qualifications.

When calling into question Mason's qualifications, Bauer dismissed all the work Mason has done trying to track male criminals in women's prisons in Canada and the impact that is having on the women locked up with these males. Bauer also admitted that there is no more recent official data that a tiny study done in 2009-10, and even that was a survey of inmates who identified as transgender, not one assessing the impact on women of mixed-sex prisons. 

Findlay later turned the committee's attention to the report submitted by Dr. Kathleen Stock, the author of "Material Girls: Why Reality Matters in Feminism," and former professor of philosophy at Sussex University, who was driven out of her 18-year career by trans activists for expressing gender critical views.

"I argue that the biological categories of male and female are scientifically robust, socially significant, and unaffected by psychological identity claims," Findlay read from Stock's report.

Findlay began by asking Bauer whether she believes the categories of male and female are scientifically robust, and again Bauer responded that sex is "multidimensional" before saying it was a little more complicated than that.

Bauer however couldn't answer whether gender identity is properly characterized as a psychological identity because she said she didn't understand what that meant, but did say that nothing Stock had said in her report caused her to rethink or modify any of the evidence she had given.

But it was the report of Dr. Miriam Grossman that Findlay and Bauer spent the most time attempting to discredit. Several long hours were taken up with going through Grossman's report in minute detail, nitpicking about the validity of each statement.

Grossman is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has written and spoken extensively about the harm she believes young people are coming to as a result of the medical world adopting the gender-affirming model of care, which requires that every child be affirmed in their self-declared transgender identity, and places many on a pathway of irreversible medical procedures.

Again, while attempting to discredit Grossman, Bauer confused karyotypes with sexes, claiming that "sex is multidimensional" with "multiple categories" beyond XX and XY, and even suggested that infertile people are neither male nor female but rather a third category.

The expert witness dismissed Grossman's claim that many cases of gender dysphoria in adolescents are likely misdiagnosed cases of borderline personality disorder, a central symptom of which is identity confusion. 

"There's not an excess of borderline personality disorder within trans populations," responded Bauer, citing unspecified European research. It was not clear when this research was conducted, so it is impossible to know whether it was done on the traditional cohort of people who suffer from gender dysphoria who were predominantly male or the new group of adolescents made up of mostly females that Grossman is referring to in her report.

Bauer makes no such distinction during her testimony because she refuses to acknowledge that this new group with this atypical presentation even exists. But others in the field suggest there may be a link between the two diagnoses. 

In response to Grossman's claim that people are now led to believe that changing their appearance means they are changing their sex, Bauer stated that "certain dimensions of sex" can in fact be changed through medications and surgeries or in the natural life course, and gave the example of the menopause, hysterectomies, and breast development in men with hormone imbalances or those on prostate cancer medications. 

But the most bizarre example Bauer gave in her valiant attempt to demonstrate that humans can change sex was that of the placenta, which she stated was a sexed organ made from "material both from the person who is pregnant and the embryo at the time." It remains unclear how this relates to anything at all.

Towards the end of the day, the counsel for the BCCNM also tried to get some of Hamm's counsel's evidence thrown out partly because it is international research, not Canadian, claiming that reference to other countries has little relevance to Hamm's hearing. This is entirely in keeping with the Canadian approach of ignoring the developments occurring around the world, such as the systemic reviews of the evidence for gender-affirming care performed in Sweden, Finland, and England which all found no evidence to support this model of care and led to each country banning pediatric medical transition outside of strict clinical trial settings. 

This session of the hearing ends on Oct 27 and then will reconvene in the new year for a further four days of proceedings.


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