Firefighters in Decatur, Georgia have determined that an October fire at a local gender-affirming care clinic was intentionally set in a move one activist has labeled “terrorism.”
The fire in the city’s historic Blair Building was “contained to one office and no injuries were reported,” according to a recent statement from the City of Decatur Fire Rescue Department.
The statement expressed that an investigation has determined the fire “to be incendiary in nature, indicating the fire was intentionally set.” No suspects have been identified.
The Blair building houses several medical providers, but a police report confirms that the target of the fire was QMed, which focuses on gender-affirming care, Decaturish reported.
“We won’t be intimidated,” QMed owner Dr. Izzy Lowell told Atlanta News First.“We will not stop providing life-saving care to our patients.” While the office is “completely destroyed,” Lowell said the clinic is seeing patients remotely. She also confirmed the FBI is investigating the arson attack as a hate crime.
Georgia passed a hate crime law in 2020. H.B. 426 became the first law in the state to specifically protect LGBTQ+ residents and give stronger punishments to those whose crimes target victims due to their LGBTQ+ identity, or due to other factors such as their race, religion, or national origin.
Trans activist Alejandra Caraballo wrote on X that the attack “is following the antiabortion playbook of destroying clinics to get them shut down.”
“This is terrorism,” she concluded.
The Movement Advancement Project gave Georgia 1 point out of a possible 44.5 for its LGBTQ+ policies, leaving it with an overall rating of “low.”
In March 2023, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a ban on trans youth receiving gender-affirming health care. The law revokes the licenses of medical professionals who administer surgeries or hormone replacement therapy for transgender people under the age of 18. The law creates an exemption for cisgender youth; they are allowed gender-affirming care to conform to their sex assigned at birth.
Puberty blockers, however, are not banned under the legislation.
The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all rejected claims that gender-affirming care harms transgender children or adults. Additionally, gender-affirming surgery is almost never performed on youth.