Nurse Defends JK Rowling On A Billboard … Could Lose Professional License

Written by Wes Walker on July 20, 2021

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We are now at the stage in the cultural revolution where paying for a billboard to agree with the opinion of a pop culture icon can cost you both your job and your credentials.

Why should Americans care about a Canadian nurse facing disciplinary action for supporting a British celebrity? Here’s a quick summary of the key reasons.

Professional codes of conduct are the latest battleground for free speech, with diversity, equity and inclusion principles being used to regulate what members of their professions can say and do.

Last year, a U.S. federal court struck down Pennsylvania’s code for lawyers on the basis that it violated the First Amendment. That hasn’t stopped New York from considering a similar code for lawyers, also based on the American Bar Association’s Model Rule 8.4(g).

The Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, a Canada-based group that defends faculty against cancel culture, said it’s supporting Hamm because “many academics are members of regulated professions and are at risk of similar treatment for expressing unpopular ideas in the public square.” — JustTheNews

The offense in question? Amy Hamm, a single mother, made the career-endangering offense of sponsoring a billboard saying ‘I [heart] J.K. Rowling.’

Yes, THAT J.K. Rowling — creator of the Harry Potter series. Rowling had been denounced for having views about the nature women that were entirely uncontroversial just a couple of years ago, but have suddenly become more unspeakable than the name of Harry Potter’s nemesis Voldemort.

What follows below is from the press release itself.

It doesn’t seem so long ago when those who called for the establishment of new rights did so explicitly on the premise that adding new rights to other groups took nothing away from the rights of anyone else. In retrospect, how well did that premise hold up exactly?

The Justice Centre is defending Amy Hamm, a Vancouver-area nurse, in an investigation by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), after complaints were filed against her because of her “gender critical” views and her sponsorship of an advertising billboard expressing support for famed children’s author, J.K. Rowling. Ms. Hamm, a single mother of young children, is facing calls for her to be permanently removed from her career in nursing for expressing her opinion on an important issue currently being debated in the public square.

Gender critical feminists typically profess that transgender people have the right to live their lives with dignity and without harassment, but that identification as trans does not equate to literally changing sex. Conflating sex (a biological classification) with self-identified gender (a social construct) poses a risk to women’s sex-based rights, particularly in settings where natal women have an expectation of same-sex privacy and protection, such as women’s prisons, changerooms, and rape shelters. Women’s sports are another area where the implications of the biology-versus-gender debate have real impact, gender critics note.

…In response to the tempest over Ms. Rowling, nurse Amy Hamm co-sponsored the installation of a Vancouver billboard ad in September 2020, which simply proclaimed “I ♥ JK Rowling”. Ms. Hamm’s sponsorship of the billboard was referenced in a CBC article, in which she was quoted as saying, “Women’s rights are important and we need to stand up for them and it’s not transphobic to do so.” After a city councillor condemned the billboard on Twitter the advertising company quickly took steps to replace it. During the 30 hours the billboard was up, it was defaced by opponents throwing paint.

Shortly thereafter, a self-proclaimed “social justice activist” complained to the BCCNM that Amy Hamm’s alleged “transphobia” made her unsuited to her career as a nurse and called for Ms. Hamm’s removal from her current and future nursing positions. A second anonymous complaint was also submitted to the College, which accused Ms. Hamm of “promoting and stoking hate speech towards trans and gender‐diverse communities”.

…In Ms. Hamm’s case, the College could have screened out the complaints on the basis that they were vexatious, frivolous, or made in bad faith. Instead, the matter was referred to the BCCNM Inquiry Committee for further investigation. A 332-page report, much of which is comprised of tweets and articles by Ms. Hamm, was provided to Committee, which is now considering the matter. The Justice Centre also presented detailed submissions to the Committee on Ms. Hamm’s behalf, arguing 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. Furthermore, the Justice Centre submitted, the College is tasked with keeping patients safe and regulating the profession in the public interest, and not with giving social justice activists a tool for ‘cancelling’ people with whom they do not agree. —The Justice Centre

It didn’t take long for us to shift from a few people just wanting the freedom to live their lives in peace to a jackboot crushing the throat of anyone unwilling to comply with the demands of their worldview, now did it?

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