Edmonton police are investigating after right-wing extremists targeted an LGBTQ+ gym, posting information about staffers and forcing the facility to temporarily close.
Queerflex is a gym founded in 2016 to cater to queer folks in Edmonton, Canada, providing fitness training for people who feel more comfortable working out with other LGBTQ+ folks. Last week, the gym posted on Facebook that a Canadian nationalist group called “Patriot Pride Canada Wide” had harassed them online, posting personal information about staff.
In response, Queerflex has temporarily suspended classes and memberships and arranged for heightened security. The business has not said when it will re-open, but in the meantime, Queerflex says it welcomes donations to help pay for the increased security presence.
The nature of the harassment is difficult to pin down, since it appears to have been scrubbed from the internet. The gym itself has not specified what personal information was published, nor have police. Little information is available online about PPCW — its social media feeds are inactive, while the group’s website appears to have been taken over by someone opposed to PPCW’s activities.
But a cached version of PPCW’s now-deleted blog, hosted by Google service Blogspot, shows lengthy posts of insults, conspiracy theories directed at Queerflex, and brain-worm typos.
“ANTIFA TRAINING FACILITIES EXPOSED,” reads a now-deleted heading published on September 10. “A training compound for domestic terrorist,” the post continues, interlaced with transphobic slurs. The post features screengrabs of staffers’ social media profiles and their names.
“This may be a breeding ground for Antifa Far Left Terrorism,” reads a post on another now-deleted blog.
“You can run, but you can't hide,” the PPCW post concludes.
The Edmonton edition of The Star reports that PPCW may consist of a single person, Ryan Dean, a notorious local right-wing activist. The Star claims he was previously a member of a racist group called Wolves of Odin, known for harassing minorities until it dissolved and a website in its name was turned into a furry dating site.
Wolves of Odin members developed an offshoot group called The Clann, of which Dean is now a member, according to The Star. The paper also reports that Dean recently published neo-Nazi slogans on the PPCW site before it was overtaken by opposition.
The group is also known for disrupting rallies for LGBTQ+ inclusive school services, calling them “child abuse.”