I’m Being Investigated by the British Columbia College of Nurses Because I Believe Biological Sex Is Real

In November 2020, the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) informed me that I was under investigation for my “off-duty conduct.” My disciplinary hearing is scheduled to take place from May 30th through June 3rd, and my career as a nurse hangs in the balance. I have been working throughout, apart from a stress leave and various sick days that I have taken to protect my mental health.

The BCCNM is a regulatory body whose stated purpose is to protect the public from harm, and to ensure that nurses and midwives meet defined standards of care and professional responsibilities. It issues a license to practice; and without it, you can’t work as a nurse in British Columbia. I’d never thought too much about the BCCNM before this investigation was announced. I did my job, and believe I did it well. I paid my license fees each year—that was it.

My troubles started when the BCCNM informed me that two members of the public had complained to the organization, to the effect that I am transphobic and so might be incapable of “provid[ing] safe, non-judgemental care to transgender and gender diverse patients.” One of the complainants is a social worker named Alex Turriff, who self-describes as “a passionate social justice advocate … interested in structural violence and oppression [and] influenced politically by Marxism.” The other has been awarded the privilege of remaining anonymous, even as he or she has attempted to ruin my career: The BCCNM apparently agreed with the anonymous person’s belief that I might “retaliate” if I knew who they were.

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.

About six years ago, I became interested in what some call gender-identity ideology—which is centred on the claim that one’s self-asserted gender identity should trump biological sex in all areas of service provision and policy-making. As many have observed (including here at Quillette), there’s been an ideological creep from niche Internet communities and academic faculties to the real world of bathrooms, prisons, and sports teams. I date my own publicly stated concern about this phenomenon to the first time I was denounced with the slur “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), which was in 2016.

Before this happened, I did not self-identify as any kind of active feminist, let alone the “radical” kind. However, I could not ignore the harms that gender-identity ideology was inflicting on women and children. And over the last six years, I’ve written and spoken on the issue of gender; organized large events about gender-identity ideology; hired lawyers to prevent the Vancouver Public Library from cancelling one such event; attended a human-rights tribunal and court hearings involving the notorious grifter formerly known as Jonathan Yaniv; been investigated and threatened with arrest by police when the aforementioned grifter falsely accused me of rape and voyeurism in a courthouse bathroom; faced hundreds of protesters—some of them former friends—chanting at me and my six-week-old infant, “Save the baby from the TERF”; received threats of death and sexual violence; had my Member of Parliament refuse to speak to me; and, with a former friend, helped erect a Vancouver billboard expressing support for my fellow “TERF,” J.K. Rowling.

The second #GIDYVR Still Talking Series event was another success, with more than 250 coming out for a civil discussion. Everyone who came was brave—because they had to face down ~150 (at the peak) verbally abusive protesters. I want to do a thread about the protesters.— Amy Eileen Hamm (@preta_6) May 10, 2019

It was this last bit, the billboard, which triggered trans activists to attempt to get me fired. And when that happened, I engaged a lawyer, Lisa Bildy, then with Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, as I had no assurances that my union-provided legal representative wouldn’t be ideologically sympathetic with my accusers. And as it turned out, this was a good call: My province’s nurses’ union has since lobbied the Canadian government (without, to my knowledge, consulting members) to pass a controversial bill that threatens healthcare workers with prison time if they do not immediately “affirm” the stated gender of any patient, no matter how young.

Nearly six months after the original BCCNM message to me—indicating “concern” that I “share the same transphobic views as J.K. Rowling”—I was sent 300-plus pages of “investigation materials,” comprised mainly of my published articles and social-media posts, along with a set of questions I was directed to answer. The college never responded to my lawyer when she wrote to the BCCNM’s in-house lawyer, Aisha Ohene-Asante, to inquire as to whether “the characterization of J.K. Rowling’s alleged views as ‘transphobic’ are the words of the complainant, and not yours as a representative of the College.” Ohene-Asante did not respond to this, nor pass the file along to anyone else, so we are left with the possibility that the BCCNM has already tipped its bias.

I had no intention of recanting my views, which, as my lawyer described them to the BCCNM, are as follows:

Men are not women. Humans are a dimorphic species. Women and men are biologically different from one another. Women and girls have sex-based rights as a result of those differences. Those rights are under threat. This is the truth. It has always been the truth. Speaking the truth should not be a punishable offense.

Likewise, when asked to “describe any lessons learned” thus far, I wrote that

I have learned that the BCCNM does not stand up for women or their Charter [of Rights]-protected, sex-based rights. While I am being accused of potentially bringing my profession into disrepute, I believe it is the College—with [its] science denialism and bullying of women like myself—that brings the profession into disrepute. I hope you know how many members of the BCCNM I have met who stand with me, and stand with other women fighting to maintain our sex-based rights. While most women are cowed into silence by fear of harassment and personal or professional consequences (such as what the BCCNM is subjecting me to with this investigation), we are not a minority. I am being punished by this process, although I have done nothing wrong … My employer and regulatory body should take pride in those who advocate for women and children. Instead, they persecute and bully them. All of this is particularly disheartening in light of the fact that nursing is a female-dominated profession. Yet the BCCNM fails to grasp that women who stand up for their sex-based rights are not transphobic, we are pro-women—as you should be.

The BCCNM attempted to prevent me from speaking out about its investigation by asserting that I had a legal duty of confidentiality. My lawyer advised that the cited legal provisions didn’t apply to me. The BCCNM never responded to us on this issue, either. And so we decided to go public with a press release. I received an enormous amount of support from people around the world, and continue to get positive messages to this day—albeit with the occasional nasty online message from trolls mixed in.

After I’d gone public, the BCCNM attempted to get me to sign a consent agreement, which would have ended the investigation. But I refused. The proposed agreement involved me receiving a public reprimand, signing a statement of facts agreeing that I’d made transphobic comments online, getting a two-week suspension that would remain permanently on my record, pledging never to discuss gender identity while mentioning that I am a nurse, and other assorted items (such as “education” in regard to the use of social media). The BCCNM wanted me to agree that I had breached my professional standards “related to Ethical Practice, Professional Responsibility and Accountability, and Client-Focused Provision of Service.” But they weren’t able to articulate the manner in which I’d breached any of these standards; nor could they back up their more recent claim that I’d made “medically inaccurate statements.” The reason they haven’t done so is because they can’t.

I mentioned earlier how I “loved” my job. Past tense. I don’t anymore, because of everything I’ve described. I am a single mother with two young boys, and my job is something I do to pay the bills. I care about the patients I see, and I still do my best. But these events have taken their toll in regard to the way I view the profession. And unless the ideological climate changes, I may have to find a new career (a move that, hopefully, won’t negatively affect my ability to provide for my children).

During my time under investigation, the gender-identity culture war has gone on. Unfortunately for the BCCNM, recent developments have not bolstered the College’s case. Just the opposite: Maya Forstater won at a UK employment tribunal after losing her job for saying humans cannot change sex; detransitioned woman Keira Bell highlighted the way in which Britain’s Tavistock gender clinic has been harming children; Sweden banned puberty blockers for youth; Dr. Marci Bowers, the famous vaginoplasty specialist who operated on none other than Jazz Jennings, blew the whistle against reckless trans healthcare practices; several compassionate, science-backed (and heavily critical) books about the transgender movement have become bestsellers; and both the gender-critical women’s movement (whose members are demeaned as “TERFs”) and the detransitioners’ movement have grown worldwide.

Gender-critical women’s organizations are popping up around the globe, including in Canada, the USA, Italy, Mexico, the UK, France, Scotland, and other countries. Just a year or two ago, journalists would have had to pretend that someone such as Lia Thomas was a brave and authentic women’s swimming champion. But that, too, has changed. I hate the oversimplified notion that history has a “right side.” But it’s clear that mainstream tolerance for the demands of radical trans activists has become much thinner recently, and that common sense is eventually going to win out.

Depending on the outcome of my disciplinary hearing, which could include being stripped of my nursing license, I will appeal the decision through Canada’s court system if I feel my constitutional rights have been violated. But regardless of the outcome, the process itself is a kind of punishment. What has helped me endure it is the experience of meeting other women who share my convictions—women who refuse to remain idle while our rights are dismantled by governments and civic institutions. We aren’t going to back down. And we don’t care who wants to cancel us for speaking unfashionable truths.

Centuries ago, scientists were sometimes persecuted by the church for rejecting holy scripture. These days, it’s secular ideologues who demand that science yield to dogma. And while the phenomenon has become common enough, it’s still something of a shock to see a nursing organization reject plain truths about human biology. For something like 300,000 years, human beings have known that they are a sexually dimorphic species, with men being men and women being women. It’s how we make babies. Nobody should have needed me, or anyone else, to come along and point this out. And it’s a disgrace to the BCCNM that one if its members has been put in the farcical position of having to prove that it’s okay to say that two plus two makes four, and not five.

But if I win my case, I believe that the dividends will accrue to nurses and midwives all across my province, and maybe even the whole country. The precedent will help ensure that we can call out gender-identity ideology without fear of reprisal or loss of livelihood. And I have it on good authority that there are many nurses who will be watching my case closely. Even if most haven’t raised their voice publicly as I have, they’re tired of watching ideology trump science, while the real concerns of women are ignored, or even attacked, by the professional organizations tasked with protecting our interests.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://quillette.com/2022/04/08/im-being-investigated-by-the-british-columbia-college-of-nurses-because-i-believe-biological-sex-is-real/
5 Likes

For those who falsely state that the trans insanity harms no one, here we have a case in which a person states a truth - there is a difference between men and women - and stands in real danger of losing her job.

No one who speaks the truth should be in danger of losing her job.

24 Likes

Vile wokeness.

Cheers, Amy!

10 Likes

Stay the course, Ms. Hamm!

And God help anyone in need of medical attention who is being attended by a nurse who does not understand the difference between men and women, who thinks that a woman can be a man, or that a man can be a woman.

13 Likes

Sebastian Haffner, who came of age in Germany between the wars, observed that when the political & economic situation briefly stabilized (which he credits to Stresemann), there were many people who didn’t like it.

A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions…Now that these deliveries suddenty ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned how to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful and worth while, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation.

I think we have a lot of people in America today who “become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions.”

My review of Hafffner’s book here.

10 Likes

The fact that she’s being dragged through this process shames Canada.

Certainly, the questions around women’s sports & spaces, around the extreme medical treatments increasingly on offer to children, or around bio-men in women’s prisons are all important issues, but I see the most fundamental issue to be the one highlighted by Jordan Peterson some years ago: the assault on freedom of speech, including the attempt to force people actively to affirm doctrines with which they do not necessarily agree. Without the freedom to speak frankly, all other rights are insecure, as we are now discovering. Trans-activists have successfully intimidated most of the population, including the overwhelming majority of the media / political elites in Canada, who ought to be pushing back as Ms. Hamm is. These activists are coming for liberal democracy, and they are not kidding around.

I greatly admire Ms. Hamm’s courage. In a liberal country, it would not be necessary.

21 Likes

That’s certainly 1 key thing. There is another - there is an issue of truth and reality. If we agree with the trannies that men can become women, this is simply a false statement in a truly fundamental way. I will not and cannot agree that anything like this statement is true. So, I plant my flag on that FACTUAL POINT. “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise”: Luther.

4 Likes

“Intimidated” or more lobbied successfully? Society moving in a certain direction is not necessarily evidence of a threat to liberal democracy otherwise that could be said about any established phenomenon.

Being investigated following public complaints is a routine established practice that hardly proves a threat to liberal democracy. In fact it’s evidence that it is working. I suppose the irony is lost on Ms Hamm that her expectation that employees shouldn’t be investigated following public complaints is in fact a denial of free speech of others including her employer or that freedom of speech especially when you are a super loud activist should not entail freedom from criticism. To not expect vigorous push back from a society that values equality when one actively organises to what effectively results in the further marginalisation & suffering of already vulnerable groups despite intentions is very naive & hypocritical. She herself, feels unfairly treated, has pushed back but complains when others do.

Without knowing the full details of the complaints, whether Ms Hamm breached her employment contract or even the result yet it’s difficult to determine whether she has indeed been treated unfairly or there is or was an unreasonable threat/violation to her freedom of speech from her employer so it’s too soon to judge this one.

2 Likes

Quite right. In fact its the organizations who ignore complaints due to an ideological position that we should be wary of.

There is even less cover here for those who insist that the transgender suffer from a “delusion”. Taking that at face value we are now talking about a nurse who may knowingly and deliberately provoke an agitated response from psychiatric patients outside of any doctors plan of treatment. That is not worthy of even a investigation?

If you are going to insist that the transgendered suffer from mental illness then at least be consistent about it.

3 Likes

The delusional component of the trannie thing is unquestionable. For the defenders of trannie delusion, show an OBJECTIVE and CLEAR test for trannieness. No such thing exists. It’s just a delusion

8 Likes

Were there any complaints as to her job performance, sure. But her private life is no one’s business but hers. Being targeted by an activist for the ‘crime’ of not sharing the views of the activist is not something that any citizen of a democracy should tolerate irrespective of whether one agrees or disagrees with whatever view she holds. This is so basic that it is shocking that it even needs to be stated.

20 Likes

“For something like 300,000 years, human beings have known that they are a sexually dimorphic species…”

Pardon me for being a cranky biologist but statements like these always falsely assume that humans started evolving our behavioural characteristics only after becoming recognizably human. In fact, sex arose 0.5-2 billion years ago, and while no species but humans may be able to articulate male-female differences, these have been obvious to all vertebrates for that long. Each sex must have specific behaviours which accompany their reproductive anatomy to ensure that they mate with individuals of the opposite sex; attempting otherwise is evolutionary oblivion in a single generation. Additionally, females must have all the necessary behaviours to successfully raise offspring. This innate knowledge predates humans by five hundred million years; humans didn’t invent it.

Thus, most anatomy and most behaviour, whether related to sex and reproduction or otherwise, has been in our genomes since very long before anything remotely human evolved, making the claims of the gender benders even more absurd.

14 Likes

Um, you do know that trans people are parents too?

Firstly, we don’t know the details of the complaints only the author’s version of events. And secondly, an employer has every right & duty in their obligation to uphold equal protection/anti discrimination laws to take an interest in an employees beliefs or attitudes if they have good reason to believe they may compromise their ability to perform the job they were employed to do especially if said person is a raging activist whose activities has implications on potential discrimination. It’s positively routine for employers to take into consideration a prospective employees attitudes & beliefs when determining their suitability for a position.

I see your point. And if everything happened just as you said, I may agree with you. However consider the situation from another point of view. Your opinion on the facts of the matter is based on a one-sided essay from someone who is also a committed activist.

I do not argue you are wrong to be extra skeptical of claims from people who have an agenda. Only that such skepticism should be extended to both sides. The inability to implicitly trust the word of an activist who is trying to convince others that they are the victim is exactly why an investigation is needed.

2 Likes

Apologies. I see you already beat me to this argument.

1 Like

“Transgender people are parents too.” That just means they should know better. It takes girl parts and boy parts to make a baby. Believing that one is female despite having fathered a child with sperm from one’s testicles is just that a belief. It has no bearing on reality and no one else should be required by law to agree with such a silly idea.

15 Likes

I take your point about the article also being one-sided and written by an activist but what makes the article damning against the licensing organization is not subtle points but rather facts that would be easy to verify. For example I have read articles before about the billboard in support of J K Rowling and the fallout from that. I have also read very many articles by leftwing activists supporting the defenestration of anyone who put up a billboard or similarly proclaimed transwomen are not women. The fact that folks commonly lose their jobs for stating that is well documented, as is the fact that many well known leftwing commentators publicly agree with that policy. If you agree with that policy yourself there is the crux of our disagreement not arguments over subtle or even blatant bias in articles.

12 Likes

As is religion “just a belief” but we are still required by law not to discriminate against people because they hold such beliefs.

Evidence?

If nothing else because JK Rowling famously got in trouble for defending someone who lost their job for saying transwomen are not women…

3 Likes