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Smartphone App Blued Knocks Out Grindr And Jack'd In China

BluedA new "gay match-making" app has taken off in China, amassing a little over 2 million users in the least year according to Al Jazeera. Blued has already become more popular than Grindr, an app that is perhaps most prevalent in the United States. "I use Grindr, but people in China use it so little," said Clint Wang. Jack'd, a gay dating/hook-up app created in Belgium and popular in larger Chinese cities like Shanghai, is oft referred to by its "Chinese name jie ke di, which literally translates to a place where a sex worker finds his or her John." Still, Blued has outpaced Jack'd and Grindr, gaining preeminence in "China's second- and third-tier cities."

However, the release of the figures estimating Blued's popularity comes on the heels of China's government controlled news agency expressing concern that apps such as Blued will increase China's rate of HIV infection. However, the CEO of Blued, Geng Le, does not agree with the government's characterization of the risk:

[Le told Al Jazeera that he] feels his company is part of the solution, not the problem, to China's HIV/AIDS epidemic. "We have helped the government spread education to combat the HIV/AIDS information."

"If HIV/AIDS is an issue, it's because of bad sexual practices," like unprotected sex, and misinformation, Geng said, not apps themselves.

Tom Myers, spokesman and general counsel at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Washington, D.C., echoed Geng's opinion.

"It sounds funky to me,” he said. “I'd have to see what evidence the (Xinhua) report is relying on."

"What drives the epidemic in the U.S. and in most of the world is people who have HIV and don't know they have HIV," said Myers, adding that finding treatment allows people with HIV to become up to 96 percent non-infectious. "That's a better success rate than condoms."

Geng estimates that there are 13 million gay men in China and Blued hopes to reach 10 million smartphones across the country.

Grindr Reveals Best Of 2013 Awards, Makes Predictions For 2014

GrindrSome might say gay-dating app Grindr has its finger on the pulse of what many gay men want (and, some would argue, need). As such, the all-male social network app surveyed its users in the U.S, U.K. and Australia to find out a few of their favorite things from 2013 and what predictions they have for 2014 on a wide range of topics like, "biggest celebrity train wreck, the hottest gadget, and the next celebrity to come out of the closet."

The results are in AFTER THE JUMP...

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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" »


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