LGBT gym forced to permanently close its doors after months of harassment by far-right hate group
An inclusive LGBT+ gym in Canada has been forced to permanently close after being subjected to months of online harassment and doxxing by a far-right hate group.
Queerflex in Edmonton, Canada, was founded to create a safe workout environment for LGBT+ people, who are often made to feel uncomfortable in mainstream gyms.
The gym closed temporarily in September, 2019, for the safety of its members and staff after the online abuse began.
The gym was targeted by a group which at the time went by the name Patriot Pride Canada Wide, although it has since renamed itself Defend Canada.
Defend Canada described the founder of the LGBT+ gym as a “far left Extremist [who] has opened up a training compound for domestic terrorists.”
On its website it published the names and social media profiles of Queerflex staff, as well as the address of the gym, and wrote: “You can run but you can’t hide.”
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While the gym hoped to re-open, and after consulting with security companies managed to run a few workshops and one-to-one classes.
But the lack of income after their temporary closure now means they must close their doors for good from February 29.
In a statement on February 12, the Queerflex team said: “The decision to close the doors to the Queerflex gym permanently has come as a result of careful consideration of all possible alternatives.
“The Board of Directors is deeply committed to creating safer spaces for our community and this decision has not come lightly.
“We wouldn’t be here without the dedication and the support of our community and its allies, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The local LGBT+ was “devastated” by the news that the gym was to permanently close.
One person wrote: “That is such a shame! You accomplished something wonderful and so needed! I’m sure there are many individuals who are grateful to you for providing the space, for as long as it was available.”
Another said: “This is extremely devastating and a huge let down for our community which is obviously in dire need of resources.”