Queer gym closes its doors over safety concerns after far-right threats
A queer gym in Edmonton, Canada has temporarily closed its doors after threats from far-right activists.
Edmonton Police Hate Crimes Unit is investigating after far-right group Patriot Pride Canada Wide posted blog posts targeting the Queerflex gym, which offers mixed martial arts and self defence classes for LGBT+ people.
The far-right group publicised the address and personal details of staff members, branding the customers “gender confused unicorns” and claiming the gym is a “breeding ground for Antifa Far Left Terrorism.”
Queer gym closes ‘until further notice’
In a statement on its Facebook page, the gym made clear: “Queerflex takes any threats—direct or implied—to our members, contractors, volunteers, and anyone affiliated with our gym seriously.”
It added: “We do not want to take any chances with anyone’s safety. In light of this, all group classes will be cancelled until further notice.
“During this time, we will be working to increase the security measures of our building. We will also be suspending all memberships to avoid any adverse financial impact of this temporary closure.
“We are truly sorry for any disappointment, inconvenience or disruption that this may cause. However, the well-being and safety of our members, contractors, volunteers, and affiliates are of the utmost importance.”
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The gym added: “Incidents like these highlight not only the need for safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community but the need to band together and support one another.
“We want to thank those who have been by our side, especially in the last few months, and we will keep our membership updated on our reopening.”
Escalating far-right threat
Bridget Stirling of anti-extremism alliance HateFreeYeg told CBC that the row indicated an escalation of the threat posed by the far-right group, which has been “targeting the LGBTQ community in particular for some time.”
She elaborated on Twitter: “I have warned Edmonton Police that this group was escalating. They have told us there is nothing to be done and have told people that these men are mostly just blowhards.
“Now a local queer organization has faced threats bad enough to force them to take action to protect patron safety.
“I wonder, will this finally lead to someone taking us seriously and not treating this as just ‘interpersonal’ issues?”