Controversial psychologist allowed to testify as expert in B.C. nurse’s discipline hearing

A controversial psychologist with a history of testifying for U.S. governments defending laws that restrict the rights of transgender people has been approved as an expert witness in a discipline hearing for a B.C. nurse.

A discipline panel for the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives agreed to allow James Cantor of Toronto to appear as a witness on behalf of New Westminster nurse Amy Hamm, and he began testifying in her defence on Tuesday.

Hamm faces allegations of unprofessional conduct for making “discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people” while identifying herself as a nurse, according to a college citation.

Cantor asserted Tuesday that the science on transgender people and the value of gender-affirming care have not been settled, arguing the issue is worthy of debate.

“Very much of the public debate has been based on subjective perceptions of victimhood rather than on any facts related to the issue. People are relying on perceptions and feelings,” he testified.

“People are preying on each other’s emotions rather than any facts surrounding the case.”

Cantor, who specializes in studying pedophilia and other atypical sexualities, was qualified as an expert witness following three days of questioning about his credentials last week.

This is Cantor’s first time testifying in a Canadian legal proceeding related to transgender issues. The panel has heard that he’s previously made about two dozen financially lucrative appearances in U.S. courts testifying in defence of state laws that restrict medical care, bathroom use and participation in sports for transgender people.

On Tuesday, it became clear that the B.C. college discipline panel has limited the subjects Cantor will be allowed to speak about and redacted parts of an expert report he has written, but the reasons for qualifying him and the limits on his testimony have not been made public.

‘Ideas that some people do not want to hear’

There was little discussion during Cantor’s testimony on Tuesday about the actual content or effect of Hamm’s online comments, which deny the gender identities of transgender women, describe them as men or “man in a dress,” and suggest they pose a danger to cisgender women and children.

Hamm’s lawyer, Karen Bastow, did read out a line from Cantor’s report in which he states that “Ms. Hamm’s comments included ideas that some people do not want to hear.”

A large portion of Cantor’s testimony on Tuesday concerned his contention that most children who identify as transgender are actually just gay or lesbian, and that social media is responsible for a rise in adolescents expressing gender dysphoria.

Cantor suggested that many teens who identify as trans are just insecure about fitting in, and are often dealing with other conditions including autism and personality disorders.

The nurse Amy Hamm is shown in an orange-toned selfie. She is white with long brown hair and large, dark-rimmed glasses.
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/

Last week, Cantor acknowledged that he has never treated anyone under the age of 16 for gender dysphoria.

On Tuesday, he also cast doubt on the common understanding that transgender people have a higher risk of suicide and suicidal ideation, likening it to “emotional blackmail” to advocate for gender-affirming care.

“People are using threats of suicide — and oddly threats of threats of suicide — in order to justify giving into highly emotional demands,” Cantor testified.

He suggested other psychological conditions may be at play in those suicidal tendencies.

Cantor’s cross-examination will continue on Wednesday. Hamm’s discipline hearing is scheduled to continue for another six days, and she is expected to testify.

Until last week, Hamm regularly made derisive comments on Twitter about college proceedings, describing the hearings as a “witch trial.” She has now made her account private.

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