Are women’s protections and free expression at risk in Canada?


A billboard expressing support for JK Rowling was removed after only one day



Chris Elston and Amy Hamm did something bold in Vancouver on the weekend.

Inspired by the recent “I (heart) JK Rowling” poster action launched by Kellie-Jay Keen (aka Posie Parker) in an Edinburgh train station, the Vancouver duo arranged for a similar billboard to be hoisted at the busy intersection of Hastings and Glen.

Since last year, JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, has been famously supporting sex-based rights and protections for women and children by tweeting and writing about her personal experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault.

After Kellie-Jay’s Edinburgh poster was removed by the rail company, stating as its reason that it was “political” in nature, Chris got the idea that maybe such a billboard was needed in his hometown. So he self-funded the ad buy and enlisted Amy, co-founder of the GIDYVR speaker series and caWsbar, to help him organize the action.

The idea came to fruition in Vancouver on the morning of September 11. And as soon as Amy and Chris began tweeting photos of the billboard, Twitter lit up. Gender critical women and men around the globe knew exactly what this message of solidarity meant — the movement in Canada had just entered a new phase.


Right on cue, local gender ideology activists began immediately tweeting their protestations. Vancouver city councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung got in on the action tweeting that the billboard was meant to stoke “hate, division and exclusion.”

But anyone who’s read Rowling’s tweets and essays on the issue of gender identity ideology knows that the author has been entirely respectful of trans-identifying people. Her candid essay is about her own struggles and highlights how women and children are affected by a harmful ideology which seeks to dismiss and override our rights and protections.

Despite Amy and Chris sending a letter to the billboard company to re-assure them that their message was pro-woman and not hateful in any way, within 24 hours, Pattison Outdoor arrived to cover over the billboard, which had already been vandalized with paint balls. Almost as if by magic (or divine intervention?), however, the company’s scissor lift malfunctioned leaving the unfortunate operator aloft for over an hour before being able to complete his task.

In the end, the billboard may have been removed but this action received significant coverage both in the mainstream and alternative media — which is a major victory.

CTV News Vancouver’s coverage, however, caught our eye as it was particularly biased and unbalanced. In the news item, Tessa Vikander wrote that Rowling ‘has been outspoken about her criticisms of transgender people.” In reality, however, Rowling has never once criticized transgender people. She has expressed solidarity with anyone who is the victim of violence.

At the time of writing, Amy and Chris, along with receiving many messages of appreciation for their courage, have already received thousands of abusive comments online.

Amy tweets:

“So, Chris Elston and I could have anonymously put up a billboard in Vancouver. But we didn’t. The threats & abuse are still coming: more than 12,000 comments on my Facebook. Hundreds of abusive and threatening DMs.

My hope was to shed light on and start a conversation about the trans activist movement. Please let uninformed people in your lives know what happens to those who are *absolutely not* hateful but challenge the mainstream gender narrative. This is not normal.”

Will you stand up for women and children?

Let Vancouver City Council
and CTV know what you think.

Scroll down for sample letters.


Amy Hamm in Vancouver, September 11, 2020.

LIVESTREAM TONIGHT at 7 Pacific / 10 Eastern, Meghan chats with Amy Hamm about the I (heart) JK Rowling billboard action.

Who loves J K Rowling? Kellie-Jay Keen talks to Chris Elston about the Vancouver billboard.


Write to Vancouver City Council
and CTV News Vancouver


Sample letter to Vancouver Mayor Stewart and City Council:


Subject: I support JK Rowling and women’s sex-based rights and protections

Dear Mayor Stewart and Vancouver City Council,

I’m writing to express my disapproval at the JK Rowling billboard being censored by Councillor Kirby-Yung. Ms. Rowling is an important advocate for women and children, and her message is in no way hateful.

Women’s sex-based rights and protections are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter, as is freedom of expression. It’s alarming to see that a major Canadian city is attempting to suppress these fundamental rights and freedoms.

I urge you to cease violating the Charter rights of your constituents through authoritarian measures such as censorship.


Sample letter to CTV News Vancouver:


Subject: CTV News Vancouver coverage of J.K. Rowling billboard

Dear CTV News Vancouver,

I’m writing to express my disapproval of your September 12 article “J.K. Rowling billboard condemned as transphobic and removed as advocates speak out” by Tessa Vikander.

The story does not meet your journalistic standards in that it is inaccurate, unbalanced and biased.

Specifically, Vikander writes: “Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has been outspoken about her criticisms of transgender people and even went so far as to write an essay about her views on the topic.”

This is a completely scurrilous claim with no basis in reality.

J.K. Rowling has never spoken out against trans people and, in fact, has expressed solidarity with them and anyone who’s experienced violence. Had Vikander linked directly to Rowling’s essay your readers would have been able to learn for themselves that Rowling’s message is one of caring concern for women and children, and not a message of criticism.

I urge you to take the steps required to rectify this inaccurate, unbalanced and biased reporting.





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Who We Are
Canadian Women’s Sex-Based Rights – caWsbar – is a cross-Canada, non-partisan coalition of women and male allies working together to preserve the rights and protections of women and girls, as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 15).
These sex-based Charter rights and protections are currently at risk in Canadian public policy, due to confusion between sex and “gender identity or expression.”
We call on all Canadians, regardless of political or religious affiliation, to join us in standing up for women’s and girls’ fundamental sex-based rights to bodily privacy, dignity, fairness and security.

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