Canada’s only clinic for gender reassignment surgery was set on fire last week, causing at least $700,000 worth of damage.
Police in Montreal are investigating the arson, at Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie (CMC), as a possible hate crime, the Montreal Gazette reported.
A man allegedly set fire to the operating room around 8:45 p.m. on May 2, according to Rabble. He reportedly also had a gas can, machete, and axe with him.
“As soon as there is the slightest suspicion that it could be a hate crime, we treat it as a hate crime,” Constable Abdullah Emran of the Montreal police told the Gazette.
Emran said though the investigation is being treated as a possible hate crime, police have not found confirmation to confirm the link.
“As soon as there is the slightest suspicion that it could be a hate crime, we treat it as a hate crime.”
Surgeries were cancelled for four days, and are now being transferred elsewhere while repairs are done.
Additional security measures have been put in place after the incident, the hospital said in a press release. No one was hurt in the fire.
Transgender Canadians make up 0.5 per cent of the population, according to the Trans PULSE project. There are 1,500 transgender people waiting to be referred for the procedure — also known as gender confirmation surgery — in Ontario alone, CBC News reported.
Some members of the trans community told CBC News there are worries the damage at the clinic will add to the already-long wait times for surgery.
According to the Globe and Mail, one man was told he’d have to wait up to two years to for an initial assessment. And the delays may pose an additional risk.
People who have decided to transition but haven’t begun the process are at an increase risk for suicide, the Globe reported.
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