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CEO Joel Simkhai on How Grindr is Improving Gay Lives: AUDIO

Sirius radio host Michelangelo Signorile speaks with Grindr founder and CEO Joel Simkhai about the app, wondering how he responds to critics who say the gay dating app encourages superficiality and reduces gay men to physical ideals.

JoelSays Simkhai:

“Fanstastic! I love it. Absolutely. Look good. I’m very proud if Grindr has forced us to up our game. To brush our teeth. Comb our hair. Eat right. Go to the gym. Be a healthy person. Cut back on the smoking. Cut back on the bad things and look your best. We’re men. We visualize. We see before we hear, before we think, before we do anything else. That’s how we are. I haven’t changed that. That’s what our evolution has taught us to do. I certainly go to the gym more because of Grindr. I’m competing with the guy a space away from me on that grid.”

Simkhai also insists Grindr gives gay men hope in countries that criminalize homosexuality:

“Let’s take it to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and all these other countries where it’s literally illegal to be gay, where there are no gay bars,” he said. “Where you are not protected. Where you can literally go to jail for being who you are. Where you don’t even know what gay is. You know you have these feelings but there’s no one else around you who can explain those to you. Fortunately for those guys, Grindr is gay for them. That is all they understand. There is no place for them to go to other than Grindr.


More quotes from the interview including discussion of Simkhai's efforts to use the app as an activist tool over at HuffPost...

Continue reading "CEO Joel Simkhai on How Grindr is Improving Gay Lives: AUDIO" »

Why is a Giant Grindr App Wandering Provincetown? — VIDEO


You see a lot of things wandering the streets of Provincetown, Massachusetts, but it's not so often that you see a giant Grindr app handing out test tubes of (fake) blood and semen.

Watch artist Tim McCarthy's project on HIV transmission, AFTER THE JUMP...

2_grindrSaid McCarthy, in a press release: “The concept is meant to be disturbing. We want to engage guys—especially young guys—in a conversation about HIV that seems to have lost momentum.”

McCarthy adds that the video title and Grindr handle, 'R U the 1?', is intentionally equivocal: "Are you the one I’ll spend a night with? The rest of my life with? Or the one who gives me HIV?"  He adds that the reverse label on his handouts includes information about the rise of HIV infections and the use of social apps for bareback sex. It also includes tips for making sex safer with online partners.

Added McCarthy: "The Internet and smartphones have changed gay culture and how we meet one another. There’s no shame in meeting online for sex. But if guys knew about the prevalence of new HIV infections, they might do more to prevent its transmission.”

Watch public reaction to McCarthy on the streets of Ptown, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, a recent study of over 1,300 gay and bisexual men in the New York City area who use Grindr revealed that 1 in 10 men on Grindr in NYC had never received an HIV test.

Further analysis showed that the proportion of older men getting tested for HIV was notably higher than that of the younger men, with 1 in 5 young MSM between the ages of 18-24 having never received an HIV test. Comparing these men to the overall population of NYC MSM indicated that a higher proportion of men onGrindr had never been tested for the disease (10% of Grindr users versus 2.6% of all NYC MSM).

Continue reading "Why is a Giant Grindr App Wandering Provincetown? — VIDEO" »

Church Youth Leader Uses Grindr To Reach Out To Gay Christians: VIDEO

Gay Youth Leader Szalapski

Hey, man. You looking...for a church to go to this Sunday? 

A lot of gay men may laugh when they hear that another guy only uses the smartphone app Grindr "just to chat". Perhaps that's how photographer and filmmaker Christian Hendricks felt when he encountered Michael James Alexander Szalapski, an openly gay methodist youth leader from Clarksville, Tennessee, who uses the app to reach out to gay Christians in his area.  

ChurchHendricks encountered Szalapski as part of a project called "South of Ohio", in which the filmmaker travels throughout the American South, documenting various interesting aspects of queer culture that he stumbles upon. Previously, Hendricks visited a Creation Museum and attended a PFLAG meeting in Kentucky. Upon discovering Szalapski and his unusual recruiting method, he set up his camera and sat him down for a video interview. 

Szalapski discussed a number of things during the interview, including his own struggles with acceptance in the Christian church, as well as his work as a youth leader in his current church in Clarksville. Towards the end, he finally brought up his unorthodox recruiting tool:

"Since I've been coming to the church, I've brought a number of people here who are also gay, usually on Grindr, because I'm quite clear on Grindr that I'm a Christian, and my real main purpose to be there is to be a Christian influence on Grindr, honestly. Because a lot of people think that God hates them, and he doesn't. And any little way that I can help let people know that he loves them is a good one. So people will message me and say, 'hey, you're a Christian? Me too.' And I'm like, 'hey, I've got a cool church that you can come to.'"

Szalapski didn't discuss whether he also used the app for dating or recreational purposes. Then again, the fact that we now have evidence of a church (in Tennessee, no less) that allows an openly gay man to work with young people, despite being open about the fact that he uses Grindr, is likely pretty groundbreaking for those of us familiar with anti-gay "Christians" such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Westboro Baptist Church

"It's just amazing to see what difference a little sentence on an online profile can make for someone," said Szalapski. "Just that little glimmer of hope that the God that they knew as a kid, that they thought was a loving God and they were told was a hating God...and that one little sentence can give them hope." 

Watch the video interview AFTER THE JUMP. Szalapski starts discussing Grindr at around the 3:00 mark. 

(via HuffPost Gay Voices)

Continue reading "Church Youth Leader Uses Grindr To Reach Out To Gay Christians: VIDEO" »

Ryan James Yezak is Tired of Being Told to 'Be Masculine' on Grindr: VIDEO


The Gay Rights Movement documentarian has a few things to say about his recent visit to the world of Grindr.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ryan James Yezak is Tired of Being Told to 'Be Masculine' on Grindr: VIDEO" »

Grindr-esque Gay Social Networking App Launches in China, Eschews Sex for Common Interests

China's first social networking app for gay men has been launched, ZDNet reports:

ZankReleased last month, Zank looks like a copycat version of the popular  app Jack'd which also targets gay men. However, its founder who goes by the  nickname "Lin Jueding", said when his team developed the app three months ago, it wanted to differentiate the service by placing shared interests and communication as a higher priority--instead of promoting sex.

Available on Apple iTunes and Google Play appstores, Zank attracted over 20,000 subscribers in the first three days after it launched. While this may not be an astronomical number, it is still impressive in terms of user penetration rate, Lin said during a recent speech held in Shenzhen.

Different from the "hook up or shut up" style Jack'd adopts, he said Zank highlights various events organized by its subscribers, individuals or gay organizations on its front page, allowing all users to check the event time and venue. It also lists the organizer's particulars such as picture, height, and weight. Interested users can sign up for the events through the app or  chat with each other online.

More at ZDNet...

'Ex-Gay' Blogger for the 'Christian Post' Caught on Grindr, Admits His 'Disobedience to Christ'

Activist Zinnia Jones, via one of her readers, revealed a Grindr profile yesterday belonging to someone who appeared to be Matt Moore, an "ex-gay" blogger for the Christian Post, who has written much about his departure from the "gay lifestyle".

Like this: Moore

God commands me to repent of my sin not because He’s an evil dictator, but because He’s a loving Father who knows that my sin will destroy me in multiple ways. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and ultimately eternally. If you don’t think homosexuality hurts anybody, just check out the statistics. Check out the number of murders among the gay community. Check out the addiction rate among homosexuals. Check out the average lifespan of a male homosexual. Seriously, just google it. You can see for yourself. …

I can, in truth, firmly say that the longer I keep turning away from my homosexual desires, the less in strength they become. My homosexual feelings have definitely diminished since the night God started drawing me to Himself in September of 2010. Are they completely gone? No, they are not. Will they ever be completely gone? I do not know. …

The main thing that I struggle with the most still is pornography, but even that is changing. I don’t get the same satisfaction that I used to from it. My stomach actually turns at the site of homosexual “relations.” But I also know that if I continue to watch it and harden my heart toward the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I will start to see things again through the eyes of my sinful flesh rather than through the eyes of the Spirit.

Zinnia has a few more examples on her blog. Anyway, after exposing Moore, he wrote her:

The grindr profile was really mine. I’ve been on it on and off for the last couple of weeks.

Like I told the guy who sent you the picture, I am wrong in having been on grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the bible, etc.

Creating a grindr profile and talking to guys on it was major disobedience on my part….disobedience to Christ.

Disobedience to a loving and gracious God. Thankfully, I believe that He forgives me for this disobedience. I believe the blood of Christ covers this disobedience. And I won’t be on grindr again….ever.

The pastor of my church and the church body I am a part of were informed about me being on grindr (I told them) before all of this came out, publicly.

As we all know, Moore is not only deluding himself, but his writings are dangerous to others who may be reading them with questioning feelings. Hopefully, he'll see the light at some point and realize there's no such thing as "ex-gay" and preaching that there is only does harm to others. In the meantime, look out for him on Grindr.


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