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Amy Hamm BCCNM disciplinary hearing: Opening Submissions by Lisa Bildy, JD

The following is a transcript from the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) disciplinary hearing on September 21, 2022 regarding nurse Amy Hamm. The BCCNM's Panel of the Discipline Committee is conducting the hearing as a result of complaints against Amy from two members of the public alleging she made "discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people."

LISA BILDY: Amy Hamm is a normal nurse. She is a normal mom, now single, to two young boys, ages 3 and 5, and she has a normal job as a nurse educator which, before this case began, she enjoyed very much. She is passionate about women’s rights.

This is not a normal disciplinary hearing. You will not hear about a nurse who sexually abused a patient, who accessed confidential medical records inappropriately, who mishandled narcotics, who personally abused intoxicating substances on the job, or who assaulted elderly patients. (That’s just a snapshot of the types of cases to be found on the College website’s discipline page.)

You will hear about a nurse with over 10 years experience, who has had an exemplary career, has been promoted in her workplace, and who has never once had a patient complaint against her. That clean track record remains, even though we are before a disciplinary panel of her regulator.

We are here because she stands accused by her regulatory body of making what it says are discriminatory and derogatory statements about transgender people on social media.

The comments that Amy Hamm has made have not been in the same vein as other College disciplinary proceedings about speech found on the website. She did not direct hostile or inappropriate language to a patient, she did not make profane, or inappropriate sexual comments to or about colleagues, she did not make disrespectful comments on Facebook about patients in her care, she did not send private messages disclosing confidential information about patients or send sexual images to nursing students on her personal cell phone. None of the comments by Ms. Hamm relate to the workplace, or colleagues, or patients. No patient or colleague has ever complained to the College about her professionalism, her behaviour on or off duty, or her judgment. She has not been accused of dishonesty. In fact, it is speaking the unvarnished truth which has placed her in the crosshairs. It will be our submission that speaking the truth should not be a punishable offence.

You will hear in her testimony how Amy Hamm became involved in advocating for women’s sex-based protections around 2016, when she noticed the discourse from extreme online communities was leaking into popular discourse. She was astonished at how women were being told to shut up while talking about their bodies and their experiences, if their speech made males who identify as females feel excluded. This was all happening under the guise of “inclusivity” but, to Ms. Hamm, it was apparent that it was designed to exclude and belittle women. She began to understand how Canada’s gender identity legislation conflicted with the sex-based rights of women. She will testify that she also saw how trans activists were making increasingly anti-scientific claims about the nature of identity and biological sex, and how anyone who dared question this narrative was being labelled a bigot. As she will testify, she decided that she did not want to be cowed into silence by ideological bullies pushing an anti-science, anti-woman, anti-child safeguarding agenda. She began writing about the issue and then organizing talks for women to come together to discuss these concerns in Vancouver. She will tell you how this made her a target for countless threats of violence, death and rape – simply for wanting to talk about women’s sex-based rights.

You see, Amy Hamm had waded into the controversial conflict of worldviews between trans rights activists on one side and women’s rights, and even gay and lesbian groups, on the other. And, apparently, women’s rights are transphobic. It is a raging debate in the public square, as one would expect when a conflict of rights occurs and when a small group insists that everyone else conform to its worldview. It is a debate where both sides claim they are being erased, yet one seems to wield all the cultural power and seeks to shut down and vilify that debate. It is Amy Hamm’s contention and experience that it is women who are being silenced and punished for speaking up to defend sex-based protections for women and safeguarding for children.

Amy Hamm has become an advocate for women and children in her off-duty public life, but it by no means follows that she is transphobic or is unkind or unprofessional to individual trans-identified people. This is an important distinction to understand. Trans people and trans ideology and its activists are two very different things.

Amy will testify that she has never, nor would she ever, express transphobic views. She is not a transphobic person, and has repeatedly and explicitly made this clear when describing her views in public. Criticism of gender identity ideology or the extremist activists within this social movement is not akin to criticizing or being “phobic” of transgender persons. She will tell the panel that she has provided excellent care for many transgendered persons in her 10 years as a nurse. She will testify that she has no desire to infringe upon the rights of transgendered persons and has nothing but empathy towards persons suffering from gender dysphoria. She believes that consenting adults should be free to do with their bodies as they please. There is no evidence that she has been unable to separate her views from her professional responsibilities, and her views are not problematic in any event. Unless, of course, women’s rights are transphobic.

This conflict of rights has been the topic of numerous court battles waged very publicly in the United Kingdom in recent years. It’s been raging on social media and has led to cancellations, or attempted cancellations of public figures, like famous children’s author, JK Rowling, which, as you will hear, directly precipitated the investigation before you.

JK Rowling came to the defence of Maya Forstater, a UK woman who was going through a court case over her “gender critical views” in December 2019, in a tweet that caused a virtual storm which reverberated around the world. Modelling their idea on a similar action taken by a JK Rowling supporter in Scotland, you will hear how Amy Hamm became involved with another person in putting up an "I 💗 JK Rowling" billboard in Vancouver. The billboard went up on September 11, 2020. As soon as they began tweeting photos of the billboard, local activists began protesting. Vancouver city co