Montreal

Transgender Montrealer says police laughed at allegations of sexual assault, robbery

A transgender person is still having nightmares after they say they were drugged, assaulted and robbed three weeks ago — and they don't believe Montreal police are taking the case seriously.

Police responded that they take every citizen complaint seriously

Atif Siddiqi is transgender and alleges that they were drugged, assaulted and robbed in their own home. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

A transgender person is still having nightmares after they say they were drugged, assaulted and robbed three weeks ago — and they don't believe Montreal police are taking the case seriously.

Atif Siddiqi said the assault and robbery happened in their home during a date with someone they met online.

Siddiqi uses they instead of the gender-specific pronoun she or he.

They suspect their date drugged the wine while their back was turned preparing dinner.

During the date, Siddiqi said they were sexually assaulted, then carried into their bedroom where they blacked out, and when they woke up, their computer was stolen along with other electronics.

Waking up dehydrated and in a panic, Siddiqi ran to the nearest police station just a few blocks away, Station 21.

At the station, officers told Siddiqi water was available from the bathroom sink if they needed it. 

"They wouldn't give me a glass or anything," Siddiqi said. "The state I was in, the other constables in the room were laughing."

"I told the constable, 'Why are they laughing at me? This is nothing to laugh about," Siddiqi added.

Siddiqi said the experience left them doubting police are working on the case.

"The very fact that I need to battle the police as well, and take them on in addition to this criminal, and sorting out everything in my own life –  why should I have to go through that?" Siddiqi said.

Trans advocate not surprised 

According to Dalia Tourki, a trans rights advocate at the Centre for Gender Advocacy, the police reaction to Siddiqi isn't surprising.

"It's really sad, almost 50 years after Stonewall, but this happens all the time when trans people go to see the police," Tourki said.

Trans rights advocate Dalia Tourki said not enough has changed since Stonewall, a watershed moment in the gay rights movement almost 50 years ago. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

Tourki is referring to New York City's Stonewall Inn, a bar where resistance to a police raid in 1969 is credited with sparking the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

Street protests followed for several days. Those protests are commemorated annually with gay pride parades around the world.

Tourki said that people believe institutions have become less transphobic over the past 50 years, but that in the case of police at least, that isn't the case.

Tourki believes that Siddiqi was treated in a dismissive way by police because they are part of a racial minority and transgender.

"A lot of trans people feel uncomfortable reporting crimes," Tourki added.

Montreal police told CBC that they would not comment on the investigation and that they take every citizen complaint seriously.

With files from Sudha Krishnan