A nurse in Vancouver, BC is facing an investigation after complaints were lodged against her over her "gender critical" views. Amy Hamm had sponsored a billboard expressing support for famed children's author JK Rowling, and for this she faced calls for her permanent removal from her career in nursing, and is under investigation by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives.
Hamm has two young children, and does not believe that biological sex is a changeable characteristic. Instead, she believes fully that women are adult human females, and that no amount of surgery, medication, or lived experience can change the unalterable facts of biological reality.
So how did posting a billboard saying "I [heart] JK Rowling" begin this tumult in Hamm's career? For that, you have to go back to the beginning. Back in December 2019, Rowling, who had sort of expressed gender critical views before, posted a tweet in support of a woman who was facing termination due to her belief that men cannot become women.
"Women will speak," Hamm is fond of saying. And it is for speaking her mind that she is being targeted for harassment.
After Rowling tweeted in support of Maya Forstater, the woman who was accused of transphobia, Rowling was accused of the same offense. But for women who hold gender critical views, Rowling's support was a game-changer. So it was for Hamm. She posted her billboard to both support Rowling and to express her gratitude for such a high-profile author speaking out against the transgender ideologues that can make like so difficult on the internet for women who won't comply.
Hamm's billboard launched in September 2020. That billboard was referenced in a CBC article that quoted Hamm as saying, "Women's rights are important and we need to stand up for them and it's not transphobic to do so." And then came the cancellers to do their work.
A city councillor condemned the billboard on Twitter, then the advertising company took it down. During the 30 hours the billboard was up, it was defaced by opponents throwing paint. Meanwhile, a storm was brewing to take Hamm down.
A self-proclaimed "social justice activist" complained to the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, saying that that Hamm's supposed "transphobia" made her unsuited to her career as a nurse, and called for Ms. Hamm's removal from her current and future nursing positions. Another anonymous complaint was filed, too, which accused Hamm of "promoting and stoking hate speech towards trans and gender?diverse communities."
Hamm is being represented by the JCCF. Her attorney, Lisa Bildy, said that "The apparent conflict of rights is something that must be sorted out in society through discussion, argument, debate and reason—not the immediate characterization of good faith positions as 'transphobic' or 'hateful.'"
"Instead," Bildy said, "we are seeing abuse, threats, and now the targeting of women's professional careers, for stating the view that men cannot simply call themselves women and thereby be considered biological women for all purposes, especially where it potentially causes harm to women and girls."
Two anonymous allegations and a tweet from a local city councillor could mean the end of Hamm's nursing career. That's all it takes to harm a woman for speaking her mind and refusing to stay silent. The JCCF notes that the College could have screened out the complaints on the basis that they were vexatious, frivolous, or made in bad faith. Instead, they pushed it through for further investigation: some tweets and two anon complaints about a billboard proclaiming love for a children's author who supports women's rights is cause for an investigation into a nurse.
Hamm has written about her views, as well, including in the pages of The Post Millennial. These articles are part of the investigation into her. The JCCF argues that "professional misconduct must not be permitted to be redefined to include speaking unpopular truths, and that to do so is to undermine the very foundations of a free and democratic society." This investigation, they posit, is merely being used by social justice activists as a "tool for 'cancelling' people with whom they do not agree."
So what happens now? Hamm may face dismissal or a disciplinary hearing unless she agrees to "consensual resolution" terms. What this looks like in real terms is that activists are "weaponizing the professional regulatory regime to intimidate opponents and punish opinions outside of a narrow orthodoxy, thrusting professionals into a stressful and often lengthy disciplinary ordeal which they are told they may not discuss," the JCCF writes.
"Canada used to be a place where you would hear, 'You're entitled to your opinion, but I disagree,' or 'It's a free country—say what you want,'" Bildy said. "Now we are told that 'Words are violence,' and saying something as mainstream as, 'Men and women have biological differences, and women have sex-based rights which reflect those differences', can put your entire career in jeopardy. We cannot, as a society, continue down this path and remain a free society."
For her part, Forstater won her case in the High Court of England. Hamm should also be exonerated.
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