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한국, 퀴어 퍼레이드 개최 — Korea’s Got Pride

Posted on July 28, 2015 by jack

2015년 퀴어축제의 달이 끝났지만 그라인더 포 이퀄리티(Grindr for Equality)는 올해 서울 퀴어 퍼레이드와 대구 퀴어 퍼레이드 개최에 필요했던 엄청난 용기와 노고를 지금도 축하하고 있다.

한국을 훌륭한 인권국가로 보는 사람이 많지만 LGBTQ 문제에 관해서는 상황이 복잡하다. 법적으로 동성애는 범법 행위가 아니고 보통 언론의 자유, 표현의 자유가 제대로 보장되지만 설문 조사 참가자 중 57%가 동성애를 받아들일 수 없다고 응답한 것에서 볼 수 있듯이 한국 대중이 성소수자에 대해 가진 고정관념은 여전히 굳건하다. 성소수자 단체의 존재가 더욱 알려질수록 한국 인구의 29%를 차지하는 기독교 단체를 중심으로 반대하는 목소리도 커지기 때문이다.

이런 대결 구도는 베일에 가려진 동성애 공포증과 행정상 허점을 이용한 서울경찰청이 성소수자들이 연례 퍼레이드를 개최할 수 없도록 조치를 취하면서 중대한 국면을 맞았다. 담당 경찰서는 퀴어퍼레이드 당일 행사는 신청 순서대로 허가할 것이라는 지침을 발표했고 이에 기독교 관련 단체들이 동성애에 반대하는 집회를 계획하면서 성소수자들이 퍼레이드를 개최할 수 있는 모든 장소를 선점할 수 있게 된 것이다.

그러한 가능성은 현실로 나타났다. 동성애를 혐오하는 사람들은 6월 한 달간 경찰서 주변을 둘러싸고 LGBTQ 활동가들이 행사 개최에 필요한 장소를 전혀 신청하지 못하도록 방해했다. 이에 대응하여 LGBTQ 활동가들은 4개 언어로 탄원서를 작성해서 국제사회에 호소했고 경찰 조치에 대해 법원에 소송을 제기했다.

이러한 대치 과정에서 그라인더 포 이퀄리티는 한국 내 활동가들과 긴밀하게 협조해서 스마트폰 애플리케이션 사용자들에게 상황을 전파하고 어떻게 도울 수 있는지 알릴 수 있었다. 또한 현지 파트너가 권장한대로 Grindr for Equality의 힘과 영향력을 이용해서 주변국가에 거주하는 애플리케이션 사용자에게 탄원서 내용을 전파해서 한국 경찰과 법원에 압력을 가했다.

결국 한국 내 활동가들의 노력은 기대했던 성과를 냈고 퍼레이드는 예년과 동일하게 진행되었다. 그러나 올해 벌어진 소동은 다른 기사에서 다뤘듯이 ‘한국이 처한 역설’을 부각시켰다. 한국 정부가 글로벌 리더로써 존경 받고 계속 인식되려면 일상생활 속에서 성소수자들을 동일하게 대우해야 한다.

솔직히 말해 필자는 올해 행사가 예정대로 열리게 된 것이 지난 6월 미국 대법원이 동성결혼을 합법으로 결정한 것만큼 기뻤다. 이제 한 걸음 더 나아가 전 세계에서 활동을 벌여서 더 많은 연결고리를 만들고 차례차례 축하하기를 희망한다. 그렇게 된다면 매년 퀴어축제의 달에 자랑스러워할 일이 많을 것이다.

자세한 사항은 다음 참조

  • 퀴어문화축제에 관한 자세한 사항을 보려면 여기를 클릭.
  • 한국에서 LGBTQ에 관련된 애플리케이션 사용을 제한하는 조치에 관한 자세한 사항을 보려면 여기를 클릭(영어 기사).
  • 미국 NQAPIA (National Queer Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander Alliance), 전미 아시아계 미국인, 남아시아인, 동남아시아인, 태평양 제도 주민 퀴어 연합)가 다국어로 영상물(Family is Still Family)을 제작하고 인쇄물로 캠페인을 벌이고 있다. 한국어로 제작된 영상물 ‘가족은 언제나 가족이니까요’는 이곳에서 볼 수 있으며 인쇄물 원본은 이곳을 클릭.

 

잭 해리슨-킨타나는 그라인더 포 이퀄리티의 국장이다.


Korea’s Got Pride

Posted on July 27, 2015 by jack

2015’s Pride Month has come and gone. And both Grindr and the LGBTQ community in the U.S. have spent the past several weeks celebrating our Supreme Court victory in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. But across the Pacific in South Korea, the struggle and triumph last month looked a little different.

Many people in the world view Korea as a democratic country with a strong human rights record, but when it comes to LGBTQ issues, the situation is a mixed bag. Homosexuality is not officially criminalized and there are generally strong guarantees of free speech and expression. But Korean attitudes remain firmly stacked against us with 57% reporting they find homosexuality unacceptable. And as visibility for the community has grown, so too has the intensity of resistance to it –  primarily by Christian groups who represent 29% of the population.

This all came to a head last month over the annual pride parade when divisions of the Seoul police force effectively banned the event because of thinly veiled homophobia and an administrative loophole. The police issued a statement that permits for public events in June would be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis so that Christian groups planning anti-gay protests could fill all the possible sites for the parade.

And that’s just what they did. For almost a month, homophobic haters lined up outside police stations in order to block LGBTQ organizers from getting any real estate for the event. In response, LGBTQ activists launched an international petition in four languages and filed a court case against the police.

Throughout the struggle, Grindr for Equality stayed in close contact with Korean activists so we could keep users of the app updated on what was happening and how they could help. Additionally, at the recommendation of our local partners, we used the power and reach of Grindr to distribute the petition to users in neighboring countries to build regional pressure on the police and on the courts.

Ultimately, all the work of Korea’s activist community paid off and the parade went ahead – just as it does every year. Still, the entire episode highlights what another recent article termed, “the paradox of Korea.” If the government wants to continue to be viewed with the respect of a global leader, doing right by LGBTQ people is a must.

I can honestly say that I was as excited about this victory as I was about the Supreme Court ruling in the U.S. Our community’s victories have always come in drastically different forms and that’s part of my wish for the LGBTQ community in the U.S. and Argentina and Ireland and everywhere that we’ve had so much success. Not only must we not become complacent when so many around the world and even right here in our own country are still suffering, we must also learn to celebrate all of these wins regardless of shape and size. But the good news is: if we do, we’ll have a lot to be proud of every year during pride month.

For more, see:

  • The Korean Queer Culture Festival (퀴어문화축제) is based here.
  • For information on Korea’s first equal marriage lawsuit is here.
  • For more on LGBTQ-related digital censorship in Korea, see here.
  • For a brief look at trans issues in South Korea, check out TransGriot’s coverage from a few years ago.
  • The US organization, NQAPIA (National Queer Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander Alliance), has created a multilingual video and print campaign, "Family is Still Family." The Korean language video for parents, "가족은 언제나 가족이니까요," is here and the print resource is here.

 

Jack Harrison-Quintana is the Director of Grindr for Equality.


The United States of Grindr

Posted on July 13, 2015 by Grindr Team

It’s summer. It’s Pride season. And our users are keeping it long-term and local.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Pride season! And with the gay holidays upon us, we thought it would be a great time to survey our Grindr guys to find out what they’re into (other than men), how they spend their summer months, what are their cascade preferences and more. After getting more than 2,500 responses from users across the nation, we were delightfully surprised with some of the data:

A whopping 47% of survey respondents said that they had found long-term friendships on Grindr – which goes to show that there are plenty of guys out there who aren’t just looking for Mr. “Right Now.” Children in your future? You’re not alone as more than half of all respondents (53%) said that they were open to having kids…so, we’ll keep an eye out for growth in the Daddy Tribe. And, speaking of families, there are seven times as many married users as there are engaged users on the app – proving the “honeymoon period” may be short-lived.

27% of respondents said that Grindr is the mobile app that they most frequently use. This makes us very, very happy. Interestingly, almost three quarters said that Facebook is the social medium that they most frequent, beating out Instagram, Twitter and Vine. So to those who say Facebook is on the decline, remember that it’s still number one among Grindr users. It’s also kind of fitting that users of the largest gay male social network most frequently use the largest social media platform (not that we’re size queens or anything). And not to brag, but Grindr users spend an average of 54 minutes a day on the app; Facebook users spend only 42.

Oh, and apparently summer is the season for Grindring as almost 60% of respondents find the long, hot summer months to be the period in which they’re most active on the app. Wondering where Grindr guys are congregating? Bet you thought we would say Mykonos, Ibiza or Fire Island. For U.S. users, look no further than your area beach or a backyard barbeque, which is where 54% said they would be. Basically, you’ll meet more guys this summer if you just keep it local.

While there are unlimited new fitness trends popping up in 2015 from underwater cycling to trampoline boot camps, when it comes to maintaining that beach-ready physique, many of our Grindr guys like to go back to the basics. Grindr respondents mostly use running (31%), weight lifting (25%) and fitness programs, like CrossFit (17%), to stay in shape. No, Netflix binging did not make the activity list.

As for those looking to maximize their Grindr inboxes, take note: 70% of respondents are most likely to answer a message from someone using a face pic – so buy a selfie stick and get ready for your close-up. But we all know that a great profile is more than just a pretty face, so follow some of our tips:

  • Fill out your entire profile. Weight, Age, Grindr Tribe, Relationship Status, etc. Users have the ability to filter these things and you (yes, you!) could be just who they are looking for.
  • Include social links. Linking to Facebook or Instagram from your profile is a great way to provide more pics to that hot guy you’re chatting up.
  • Put what you are looking for in your profile, not what you aren’t.

Happy Pride! #LoveWins


Marriage Equality: 0 Feet Away

Posted on June 26, 2015 by jack

Grindr for Equality and the entire Grindr team would like to express overwhelming joy at the Supreme Court’s decision today in Obergefell v. Hodges. The court has ruled that all states must recognize our marriages and treat them the same as those of our straight peers.

This victory is particularly meaningful for us because Grindr is in the business of connecting people. We’ve seen countless marriages, partnerships, and friendships grow up out of the community we’ve created and seeing those connections validated by the court is incredibly gratifying. In honor of the news today, we want to lift up the story of one Grindr couple who will be impacted by this decision.

 

My husband and I met on Grindr back in December of 2012. We both live in rural Minnesota and there aren't many channels to meet men so the app has been incredibly important here. Little did we know, though, that we would find our husbands through this app.

Our communicatio
n on Grindr was steady at first, culminating in our first date, which was incredible. I'm a shy guy so it took me a long time to warm up to the idea I may have found someone. 
We met a few more times, and more and more we opened ourselves up to one another. I began to realize I was really falling for him. Yet I held back, resigned to the idea that our connection was too good to be true. I lost his number and we fell out of touch.

One day I went shopping in the town where he lived, and as I was leaving, I got a flat tire. I didn't know what to do. The only person I knew in town was Eric. I went on Grindr and saw his picture. There was a green dot by his photo! I messaged him and only minutes later he got out of his vehicle with a small air compressor and re-inflated my tire.

That event rekindled our connection and we never looked back. Thanks Grindr and thanks to the Supreme Court for legalizing our love!

Jeremy & Eric
Married February 26, 2015

 

 

This decision represents a sweeping step forward for the entire country and we are so excited to see this day. But it does not mean that our struggle is over. Today as we celebrate, we hope everyone will also keep in mind how much more we have to fight for. In the U.S., we still lack federal protections from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations like retail stores and restaurants. Beyond our borders, seventy-eight countries have made homosexuality a criminal offense and in too many places, corrupt governments are using homophobia as a wedge issue to distract from their other failures.

So today we celebrate. Today we offer our congratulations to Jeremy and Eric and all the other couples impacted. And tomorrow we continue our struggle for justice.


Grindr For Equality: Our next imperative

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Grindr Team

At Grindr, we are constantly considering how to positively impact the countless lesbian, gay bi, trans and queer people who struggle against so many outside forces to form the romantic partnerships we want – whether it’s family and societal rejection; racial injustice; economic marginalization; or religious bigotry. We want to help LGBTQ communities both recognize and move beyond the trauma that we carry with us no matter what country we live in and we’re calling on our users to show the same solidarity with our people around the world. 

This is why we created Grindr for Equality three years ago – to use our unique ability to reach men in 192 countries – not just for social networking but also for social justice. 

So far we have made the individual safety and wellness of our users our top priority. Activists in countries like Egypt have worked with us to send messages to our users in hot spots around the country warning of police crackdowns; we’ve participated in campaigns to increase HIV testing for gay men around the globe; we’ve raised awareness about important political elections and have shared educational information about PrEP. 

These have been exciting steps forward, but we are setting our sights on much more. It is going to require innovative thinking and a wide array of community-specific tactics. Our strategy is rooted in amplifying the work that is already underway around the globe and moving our users to join in and take action.

Under the leadership of Jack Harrison-Quintana, our new director of Grindr for Equality, we are building new partnerships with groups like the Beijing Gender Health and Education Institute (BGHEI), an organization working to raise awareness about sexual diversity and equality in Mainland Chinese society. In partnership with BGHEI we will make sure Grindr users in China have access to thorough and relevant sexual health information in colloquial Chinese.

Another is MOSAIC (Middle East and North Africa Organization for Services, Advocacy, Integration, and Capacity Building), a holistic program committed to improving the wellness of marginalized groups in Lebanon and throughout the region. Because Lebanon is one of the few countries who has accepted the influx of Syrians displaced by the current conflict, we want to make sure Syrian Grindr users living in Lebanon know where to go to get refugee services that are LGBT-competent and affirming.

While the international community is our top priority, there is still plenty of work to be done in the U.S. as well. The government still has no federal protections against employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination. So we are doubling down on our commitment even as we stand on what is hopefully the precipice of full marriage equality in the United States.

To achieve success, it is crucial that we keep up our momentum, so if you have an organization that Grindr for Equality can amplify, please fill out our online form. We are committed to creating pathways for Americans to reach out across borders and we will need your help.

Together, we can make a difference to advance our rights and win the fight to achieve equality worldwide.