Transwoman sought as suspect in arson fire at gender reassignment clinic

Jayne Ellen Heideck
Jayne Ellen Heideck

On May 2nd, police reported that a man carrying a machete, an ax, and a gas can entered Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie (CMC) at 999 Salaberry St. and and set a fire. There were $700,000 in damages, but personnel who were in the building were safely evacuated. The medical clinic, in Montreal, is the only one in Canada that offers gender reassignment surgery.

At the time, many expressed concern that the incident was a transphobic hate crime. The CBC spoke with one patient who was waiting for surgery who said, “I think that there’s a pretty large chance that this isn’t just a random arson given a lot of the backlash seen in Canada and the United States over the past several years about trans rights.” Online, these fears were echoed. Some compared the arson to the ongoing attacks from pro-lifers on American abortion clinics.

On May 21 it was reported that a suspect named Jayne Ellen Heideck had been identified. Investigators believe the a 42-year-old transwoman may have targeted the clinic as a result of being “unsatisfied with the results” of a surgery Heideck underwent there.

The Montreal Gazette, who reported the suspect as a “B.C. woman” confirms that, while the police had initially treated the fire as “a possible hate crime intended to intimidate the transgender community and/or its supporters,” this is no longer the case. “Our investigation has shown that it is not a hate crime,” Montreal police spokesperson Constable Manuel Couture said.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.