Amy Hamm, a medical professional and mother of two from British Columbia, is currently facing potential censure from her regulatory board for expressing her belief that there are only two genders. Hamm, who co-sponsored an ‘I heart J.K. Rowling’ billboard in 2020, has been targeted and threatened with hate and abuse following a complaint made by two members of the public.
The controversy surrounding Hamm began when she publicly supported J.K. Rowling, a well-known advocate for women’s rights. Rowling has been vocal about her support for safe spaces for women, including female-only bathrooms and changerooms. As a result, she has faced backlash on social media and in the press.
Following the complaint against Hamm, she received tens of thousands of threatening messages, highlighting the toxic nature of the debate surrounding gender identity. Despite this, Hamm remains steadfast in her beliefs and is determined to continue practicing as a medical professional without fear of persecution.
The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) has been actively trying to disqualify a sexual behavior expert, Dr. James Cantor, from defending Hamm’s position on biological sex. Hamm’s legal counsel, Karen Bastow, has argued that Dr. Cantor’s expertise would dispel the myth that Hamm’s opinions could harm transgender individuals and increase their suicidal ideation.
In the most recent charge against Hamm, the BCCNM accused her of making discriminatory and derogatory statements about transgender people between July 2018 and March 2021. The regulatory board has been relentless in its pursuit of Hamm, even launching an investigation and compiling a lengthy report based on her social media posts and statements.
However, the BCCNM dropped the charge of disseminating medically inaccurate information in June 2022. Hamm’s legal team is now focused on qualifying Dr. Cantor as an expert witness who can provide valuable insight into transgenderism and gender dysphoria.
This case has wider implications for the freedom of expression of regulated professionals across the country. Lisa Bildy, Hamm’s legal counsel, argues that professional regulators, although created by statute and operating as an arm of the state, are increasingly trying to control what professionals can say or believe on social and political issues.
This case also draws parallels to another incident involving freedom of expression. Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist and commentator, faced the possibility of having his license revoked after the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) launched an investigation into statements he made on social media. Peterson’s case also involved the alleged violation of ethical standards.
The qualification hearing for Dr. Cantor is ongoing, and it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to provide expert testimony on behalf of Hamm. The disciplinary hearing will reconvene on October 31, and the public awaits a final decision on the matter.
This case has sparked a broader debate about the limitations on professionals’ freedom of expression and the potential impact on their ability to provide unbiased and evidence-based care. It raises important questions about the balance between personal beliefs and professional obligations within the healthcare system.