B.C. nurse tells disciplinary hearing she keeps activism on trans issues separate from her work

British Columbia

A B.C. nurse facing potential discipline for making numerous “derogatory and discriminatory” public statements about transgender people attempted to draw a line between her off-duty activism and professional duties at a hearing this week.

Amy Hamm faces allegations of unprofessional conduct from the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives

Bethany Lindsay · CBC News

· Posted: Nov 07, 2023 5:53 PM EST | Last Updated: November 7, 2023

A B.C. nurse’s public statements about transgender people are at issue in a hearing held by her professional regulator. (Tom Steepe/CBC) A B.C. nurse facing potential discipline for making numerous “derogatory and discriminatory” public statements about transgender people attempted to draw a line between her off-duty activism and professional duties at a hearing this week.

Amy Hamm of New Westminster was under cross-examination on Monday and Tuesday during a disciplinary hearing conducted by the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives. She faces allegations of unprofessional conduct for social media posts, essays, podcast appearances and videos in which she denies the gender identities of transgender women, calls them “men,” and implies they could pose a danger to cisgender women and children.

A key component of the case against Hamm is that she is making these statements while identifying herself as a nurse. The college has argued that her comments could discourage transgender people — who are often wary of medical professionals to begin with — from seeking health care.

Hamm testified Monday that she has tried to keep her personal advocacy and her work life completely separate.

“I’ve never claimed to be a representative of my profession,” she said.

Asked why, in that case, she has often included the fact she is a nurse in author descriptions accompanying articles she has written on transgender issues, Hamm, said it was just “a small biographical detail.”

A citation from the college charges that Hamm “made discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people, while identifying yourself as a nurse or nurse educator” between July 2018 and March 2021.

Hamm has told the panel that she is not transphobic, but instead is advocating to prevent transgender women from accessing spaces and resources meant for women. 

On Monday, she testified that she believes it’s offensive to compare the trans-rights movement to previous civil rights campaigns, suggesting that it has been driven by corporate funding, including from the pharmaceutical industry.

‘I am now known around the world as a nurse’ Hamm testified this week that she stopped referring to herself as a nurse in online biographies because of the ongoing discipline process. She said she blames the college for the current level of public awareness about her professional role. 

“Because of this BCCNM investigation and case, I am now known around the world as a nurse,” Hamm said.

Amy Hamm is the subject of disciplinary proceedings at the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives related to her public statements about transgender people. (Amy Hamm/X.com) However, college lawyer barbara findlay, who spells her name without capital letters, pointed out that Hamm is still described as a “registered nurse educator” on her online profile for the steering committee of a group called Canadian Women’s Sex-Based Rights , which advocates for similar restrictions.

“I wasn’t aware that it still says that,” Hamm responded.

She is also still described as a nurse in a bio for The Post Millennial website, where she has published writing as recently as July 2023.

When findlay asked whether she might bear some responsibility for raising public awareness about her nursing career through regular tweets alerting her followers to the ongoing college discipline hearing, Hamm agreed that was possible.

“There’s this aspect where I feel that if I’m undergoing an injustice … I think it would be unfair that I would have to censor and muzzle and hide myself,” she said.

But she added that she also attributes public discussion of her case to recent CBC stories, which she described as “hit pieces.”

On Tuesday, discipline panel chair Edna McLellan asked whether Hamm’s employer had ever raised concerns about what would happen if a transgender patient became aware of her online advocacy and felt uncomfortable dealing with her.

Hamm said that her job rarely involves front-line nursing care, but she has agreed to recuse herself if any patients are uncomfortable with her political views.

The hearing continued on Tuesday afternoon with defence testimony from British philosopher Kathleen Stock. The proceedings are scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay is a Vancouver-based journalist for CBC News. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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