Last week, Robert Hoogland was arrested at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver for speaking against court-ordered testosterone injections for his teenage daughter. Hoogland was denied bail, and Justice Michael Tammen issued an oral decision last Friday confining Hoogland to prison until his case is tried on April 12, 2021.
Hoogland’s arrest has garnered significant attention, nationally and internationally, and prompted an online petition for his release. Noted psychologist and author Jordan Peterson tweeted about the case repeatedly last Thursday, pointing out that he had predicted such imprisonment was “inevitable” back when he took his stand against the “pronoun laws” in Canada’s Bill C16.
As previously reported, the BC Supreme Court ordered that Hoogland’s daughter should begin receiving testosterone injections when she was 14 years old, regardless of parental consent. The court further declared that if either of the girl’s parents referred to her “as a girl or with female pronouns,” that parent would be considered guilty of family violence.
The night of this ruling—Feb. 27, 2019—Hoogland granted an interview published in The Federalist in which he refused to obey the court’s demand he refer to his daughter as a girl, “because,” he protested, “she is a girl. Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do.” For this, and similar statements, in April of 2019 Rob was deemed guilty of family violence and put under threat of imminent arrest should he dare to refer to his daughter as a girl again, whether in public or in private.
Hoogland kept quiet for the rest of 2019, hoping that if he cooperated with the courts he might be able to get his daughter off testosterone on an appeal. In January 2020, his appeal failed.
Desperate to get his story heard, Hoogland began granting interviews to The Federalist and other outlets in February 2020 in which he criticized by name the doctors involved in prescribing his daughter cross-sex hormones. While Hoogland carefully avoided using his daughter’s name in interviews, he felt he could not fight the laws and rulings if he remained the nameless and faceless “CD” of court documents.
“What kind of father would I be if, let’s say in 5, 10 years my daughter is detransitioning, and she turns to me and says… ‘Why did none of you do anything to stop this? I was a child. None of you stuck your neck out for me back then. You just let me do it because I was a… immature kid, thinking this was something great,’” he said in an interview. “When my daughter asks me that question, I’ll say… ‘I did everything that I possibly could.’”
“Whatever happens to me pales in comparison to what’s already happened to my daughter,” he said then.
Hoogland’s urgent belief that people needed to know what happened to his daughter was certainly not shared by the attorney general of British Columbia, Daniel J. Pruim, or Justice Tammen in court last week. Pruim argued that Hoogland should be denied bail while he awaited trial on the criminal contempt charges brought against him last year.
The Vancouver Cybercrime Unit compiled a lengthy police report documenting when Hoogland referred to his daughter “as his ‘daughter’” and noting that he “[used] female pronouns numerous times.” The cybercrime report also underscored numerous interviews in which Hoogland criticized by name the doctors involved in giving his daughter testosterone.
While the names of those doctors—Brenden Hursh and Wallace Wong—had originally been published by the courts in public documents as public legal records, they were hastily anonymized as negative publicity arose for the case. Wong, a child psychologist who referred Rob’s daughter for testosterone when she was 13, came under particularly heavy fire.
Pro-family activists complained that, according to Wong’s own statements, the youngest client in his children-only “gender therapy” practice was not yet three years old. It also seemed Wong may have hinted to potential clients that by making fake suicide threats (“Pull a stunt. Suicide, every time, [then] they will give you what you need”) they could get the Canadian health-care system to fund their “treatments.” Nevertheless, the court bought the idea that Hoogland’s daughter had to immediately begin taking testosterone in order to avoid suicide.
Tuesday morning before his arrest, Hoogland told me in a phone interview that he did not regret his choice to speak out publicly under his own name. When asked whether he regretted saying Wong and Hursh’s names, he was emphatic: “No.” Hoogland views the doctors as “criminals” who were “doing something wrong,” harming healthy children with cross-sex hormones that render them sterile.
Hoogland’s point of view was not acceptable to Justice Tammen last Friday in court. Noting that Hoogland broke the anonymity bans on doctors’ names deliberately, Tammen concluded that he must be strictly punished.
Tammen pointed out that even after a warrant was issued on March 4 for Hoogland’s arrest, Hoogland still provided an interview to pro-family organization Mass Resistance. Tammen asserted that the anonymity orders and publication ban were “intended to provide privacy and security of the person to [Hoogland’s daughter] and [her] healthcare providers.”
“CD’s detention is necessary to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice,” Tammen declared. Towards the end of the hearing, Hoogland raised his hand to speak. “I do love my child. That’s why I did this,” he said. “I did what I thought was right.”
In an interview shortly before his arrest, Hoogland said what others can do about his case is: “pray—anybody can pray.” And “Educate people. Tell people what’s going on… talk to your neighbor and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on in the world’…. To even do a simple thing like that… that’s commendable; that’s courage to me. To even do a simple thing like that.”
Hoogland sits in jail today in the North Fraser Remand Centre in Port Coquitlam, east of Vancouver, until the conclusion of his trial in April.
On March 26, this author received an update from a close friend of Robert Hoogland’s who has been able to speak with him on the phone a couple of times over the past week. She wrote that “due to covid protocols” Rob is being kept in an individual cell and not being allowed any in-person visits. “He can only [take exercise] for a couple hours a day so the living conditions are not ideal, akin to solitary confinement.”
She expressed concern for Hoogland’s mental health, noting that he has been under “extreme stress for the past 2.5 years” since doctors informed him that they would begin treatments on his daughter on the sole basis of her own consent.
Hoogland’s trial for breaking gag orders is scheduled to begin before Justice Michael Tammen on April 12. If sentenced, he could face up to five years in jail.