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Report: Texas AG requested records from gender clinic after it was targeted by arsonist

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Report: Texas AG requested records from gender clinic after it was targeted by arsonist

The Blair Building suffered an unspecified amount of damage on Oct. 30 following a fire. A reporter saw burn marks and a boarded up window from the street when they visited the site on Nov. 1. Photo by Zoe Seiler

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — The Washington Post reported Monday that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton requested records from a gender clinic in Decatur after it was targeted by an arsonist.

While the clinic has stopped treating patients from Texas, in response to the law there, Paxton requested records that predate the law’s enactment, the Post reported.

Paxton’s request is part of a wider effort by the state of Texas to prohibit gender-affirming care for minors. The Seattle Children’s Hospital received a similar request, the Washington Post reported.

As first reported by Decaturish, an arsonist targeted QueerMed/QMed on Oct 30. The clinic is located inside the historic Blair building behind Twain’s restaurant in Decatur. The city denied our request for police body camera footage from the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. We have continued to press the city for the release of this information. The Decatur Fire Department confirmed on Jan. 26 that a fire at a gender clinic inside a historic building was intentionally set.

Izzy Lowell, who founded the clinic, told the Post the letter from Paxton was dated Nov. 17, after the fire. Due to the arson, Lowell didn’t receive the letter until December. Lowell said she won’t be turning any records over to the Texas AG.

“This request from the Texas Attorney General is a clear attempt to intimidate providers of gender-affirming care and parents and families seeking that care outside of Texas and other states with bans,” Lowell told Decaturish. “Let me be clear: QueerMed will never, ever turn over HIPAA-protected patient information. We are not breaking any laws, and we will continue to legally provide care in states that have not made the callous decision to put politics ahead of patient health.  I am deeply saddened by the pain and suffering this is causing all transgender and nonbinary patients and families across the South.”

To read the full story by the Post, click here.

The city has not responded to a question about whether the arson at the Blair is being investigated as a hate crime, but the involvement of state and federal investigators suggests that is a possibility. Georgia enacted a hate crimes law in 2020, and its protections extend to LGBTQ individuals. People convicted of a hate crime would face stronger penalties under the new law. Lowell told Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First that the arson case is being investigated as a hate crime. Lowell previously said that a QueerMed employee had submitted a hate crimes report to the FBI.

Lowell said, “We won’t be intimidated. We will not stop providing life-saving care to our patients.” She said the office is “completely destroyed,” but that QMed is continuing to see patients remotely, Atlanta News First reported.

The Decatur Fire Department has been tight-lipped about the investigation. We oonly learned about the fire after receiving an anonymous tip. A reporter visited the scene and saw the damage to the building on Nov. 1. The fire department did not initially confirm the Oct. 30 fire had occurred, and only confirmed it after we published a story about it.

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