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Montreal clinic allegedly set on fire by arsonist because it provides surgery to trans people

Montreal clinic allegedly set on fire by arsonist because it provides surgery to trans people

transgender clinic fire arson

An important medical center in Canada had caught on fire and police are currently looking for a male suspect.

The Centre Métropolitain de chirurgie in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough in Montreal is the only medical clinic in Canada that offers gender reassignment surgery (GRS), among other medical procedures that are needed by the transgender community.

On Monday at 8.44pm, the firefighters were alerted to a fire at the clinic. About 20 firefighters rushed to the scene, but the fire was extinguished by an automatic sprinkler system.

According to Montreal Fire Prevention Service, the fire started in an operating room. Several staff members and patients were in the building but they safely escaped. No injuries were reported.

The transgender community in Montreal and across Canada was notified about the fire soon after it happened. Some members of the community are concerned that the incident would lead to an even longer wait for the surgical procedures they have booked with the clinic.

Montreal police spokesperson, Constable Manuel Couture, said that investigators are aware of the services provided by the clinic, but have yet classified the fire as a suspected hate crime as of Tuesday afternoon, reports Montreal Gazette.

‘I don’t have any information right now to indicate that this was some kind of hate crime, but investigators are aware of that and as soon as they have the slightest suspicion that something could be a hate crime, they transfer it to the Hate Crimes Unit,’ Couture said.

Sophia Banks, a Montreal-based photographer and trans-rights advocate told the National Post that the incident is ‘devastating for trans health care’ and that people are ‘freaking out’ about the waiting time and how long the clinic will be closed.

Banks also wrote her frustration on Twitter:

 

Mercedes Allen, trans-rights advocate and writer, suggests that the fire is not an innocent accident:

‘It would certainly seem relevant that the arson targeted the only clinic in Canada that currently provides GRS and other trans-related surgeries — especially at a time when things are becoming increasingly polarised on trans issues.’

Allen adds, ‘Something like this is certainly not going to help a community that already feels targeted.’

Damages caused by the fire and water are estimated to be around $700,000.

BuzzFeed reports that the clinic has declined to comment on how its patients could be affected.

H/t: Montreal Gazette