On day 10 of the disciplinary hearing of Amy Hamm, the British Columbia nurse under investigation for allegedly transphobic social media activity, an expert witness testified that those who claim humans can change sex are “immersed in a fiction.”
Dr. Kathleen Stock OBE, who was a professor of philosophy at Sussex University until she was ousted for expressing gender critical views, was called to give evidence in support of Hamm. Hamm is facing the loss of her career for expressing similar ideas to Stock, such as there are only two sexes, humans cannot change sex, and it is unethical to attempt to perform sex changes on minors.
Stock was guided through her written submission by Lisa Bildy, legal counsel for Hamm. Bildy seeks to qualify Stock as an expert witness on the conflict of rights between sex-based and gender-based rights, the issue of language as relates to gender and sex, and the impact of gender self-identification and the value of gender critical speech.
The counsel for the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) seeks to disqualify Stock as an expert on the grounds that her opinion is “argumentative” and “irrelevant.”
Throughout her career, Stock has written and spoken extensively about what it means to be immersed in a fiction, and how imagining something is different from believing. She gave the example of being at the theater, where you might be fully immersed in the play but if the fire alarm goes off, you still know how to get out.
She then explained to the disciplinary panel how this applies to trans activists, who are “immersed in a fiction of being able to change your sex, of being a woman or being a man, or being neither or being both.”
A good, real-world example to demonstrate the accuracy of Stock’s theory would be the decision by the Biden administration requiring males who identify as women to register for the draft. This indicates that though President Biden has relentlessly parroted the “trans women are women” mantra for years, he doesn’t really believe it and has instead chosen to immerse himself in a politically expedient fiction.
Bildy asked Stock to comment on some of the many articles she has written on the subject of sex and gender, and how trans activism impacts the freedom of speech of people who hold gender critical views such as those of Hamm.
Stock pointed to the Stonewall definition of transphobia which includes the “refusal to accept gender identity claims,” and argued that this broad definition has the result of “shutting down important academic discussion of really important issues like how we deal with children with gender dysphoria, for instance, or what we do with transwomen who are convicted and have to go to prison. Where do we put them? You know, those are really big ethical questions. But if you say it's all transphobic, you can't discuss it.”
Egale Canada has a similar definition of transphobia which includes "any purposeful refusal to acknowledge gender identity." Earlier in the hearing, Dr. Greta Bauer, an expert witness for the BCCNM, said that she partly agreed with that definition, adding that transphobia is anything that disallows “the possibility of trans existence in connection with cisnormativity.”
Bauer had also previously testified that lesbians must examine why they are not attracted to heterosexual males who identify as women and therefore believe themselves to be lesbians. Stock, herself a lesbian, did not mince her words when she said that she believes the concept of the male lesbian is “intellectually incoherent” and “ethically dubious.”
“Trans activism and activist scholars will say trans women are women. So some trans women are attracted to women. I would say because they’re heterosexual or opposite sex attracted, but the orthodoxy now says no, no, they can't be heterosexuals because they’re women attracted to women, so they must be lesbians,” Stock explained to the panel.
“So we have this…strange intellectual position that a person with a penis, XY chromosomes, fully intact male genitalia, fully male in other words by every standard account of it, can be a lesbian because they identify as a woman and they're attracted to women,” she went on.
“Now I find that intellectually incoherent, ethically dubious, and with several terrible consequences for actual lesbians, who are, of course, by definition, homosexuals, not attracted to males,” she concluded.
Later during the direct examination, Stock described what it was like in the UK in 2018 trying to have an open discussion about gender identity ideology and its impact on women and children, and her description was eerily similar to the situation in Canada in 2023.
She described how it was impossible to say anything other than “trans women are women” without facing backlash and how she faced disciplinary complaints for speaking out about the issue.
“There was a hostile environment for any kind of difference of opinion, and so women, academics who wanted to talk about what happened in prisons, or sexual violence or rape crisis shelters, or domestic violence refuges; or educationalists who wanted to talk about children who are suffering from gender dysphoria and were confused about the difference between sex and gender, none of that could happen,” Stock explained to the panel. “There’s just been no room for dissent for a very long time.”
Stock then gave the example of what happened to Robert Wintemute at McGill University in Montreal last week when trans-activist protesters violently shut down the respected professor’s talk that sought to examine the conflict of rights between homosexuals and the transgender community.
Towards the end of the day’s proceedings, Brent Olthuis (he/him), counsel for the BCCNM, suggested to Stock that she was not qualified to give her opinion on the proposed conflict of rights in this case because she is not a lawyer and not familiar with the legal regime in BC nor the Constitution of Canada.
Stock responded that while she was not a lawyer, she was familiar with the idea of rights and that there is a strong tradition in ethical philosophy of thinking about moral and political rights.
“It would be strange if we just kind of gave over our consciences to the legal system of our country and decided that whatever that legal system said must be what was right,” replied Stock. “I mean, then there'd be no room for criticism of the legal system in one's country and that can't be right. So there's got to be room for discourse about whether the law gets it right on rights, and I would say philosophers have an important role to play in that discussion.”
The disciplinary panel will spend Friday assessing the arguments presented by both counsels in order to reach a decision on Dr. Stock’s eligibility as an expert witness. The dates for the remaining eight days of the disciplinary hearing have yet to be announced.
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