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As someone who has been working with trans activists for the last decade, I often tell people that I couldn’t have imagined some of the things that are happening now in the mass media. Last year Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time; this year a trans guy, Aydian Dowling, is in the lead of an online contest to be on the cover of Men’s Health; and, of course, this week Caitlyn Jenner became the first trans woman to be featured on the cover of Vanity Fair (and photographed by lesbian artist, Annie Leibovitz, no less).
Back in April when the Diane Sawyer interview first ran, we posted a few tips to help people make sure they can do so with respect when discussing Caitlyn. And we’re so excited now that she’s been able to take the next step to live her life full time as her authentic self.
I was struck, too, by Caitlyn’s statement that the Vanity Fair cover has set her free. That makes me so glad for her and it also underscores how much more we have to do. Just in the US, 1 in 5 trans people have experienced homelessness, more than half have been rejected by their families, and 41% have attempted suicide because of the discrimination they face. Globally, 1,731 murders of trans people have been documented since 2008 with countless more we undoubtedly don’t know about.
At Grindr for Equality, we’re committed to a world where all trans people can be free to be themselves just like Caitlyn, regardless of their socio-economic status, whether they’re famous, and where they live.
It’s a week to celebrate and it’s also a week to recommit to our activism.
For more on this week’s events, see…
Grindr for Equality and the whole Grindr team would like to take this opportunity to stand with Bruce Jenner. Almost all of us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community know what it’s like to have to come out and the courage it takes to be ourselves everyday. What fewer of us know first hand is the incredible pressure and scrutiny placed on professional athletes and other celebrities going through the process.
Now that Jenner has disclosed his gender identity publicly, we hope that members of our community will engage in respectful conversation that lifts up the trans community rather than tearing down our own. In the coming days, Jenner is likely to be a topic of conversation all around the country. This is an opportunity for us as gay and bi men to stand up in solidarity with trans women.
To that end, here are six tips for the days ahead.
1. Pronouns. Diane Sawyer clarified during the interview that Bruce still uses male pronouns for the time being. In the future, Bruce is likely to start exclusively using the pronouns, she, her, and hers, in accordance with her identity as a woman. We hope that everyone will do their best to use pronouns that reflect Bruce’s wishes as they unfold. If you hear someone using the wrong pronouns in the future, remember that shame is not a good teacher. Calmly and kindly just say, “Oh, she said she uses female pronouns now.”
2. Birth names. In the interview, Jenner made it clear that he has not yet taken a new name. Because she became famous under her old name, even if she does change it, we’re still likely to still hear the name Bruce. Standard protocol dictates that we do our best to exclusively use the name a trans person takes for themselves. Keep in mind that for many trans people, their birth names can be an extremely painful reminder of how it felt before transition and it is generally advisable not to mention birth names unless an individual says it’s ok for them.
3. Surgeries. Public discussion of trans people often centers on transition-related surgeries but there are a couple of things to always keep in mind. First, surgery does not make someone a man or a woman, their self-identification does. Many trans people can’t afford or simply do not want surgery but that doesn’t make them any less who they are. Second, there is no one “sex change surgery,” but rather wide variety of medical procedures that an individual trans person may choose to undergo. Third, talking about an individual’s surgical status is considered extremely rude, just like open discussion of anyone else’s genitals is not ok in most situations. Unless a trans person starts a conversation about their own body, this is a topic to be avoided.
4. Jokes and derogatory terms are never ok. For those of us who have faced derision because we were feminine boys or simply because of our sexual orientation, it should be clear why trans issues are no joking matter. Lets commit to kindly interrupting these things when we hear them among our friends.
5. No single story. Remember that Bruce’s experience is unique as is every other individual’s. The most important thing you can do to be in solidarity with trans people you meet is to listen, get to know them, and respect their unique story and specific wishes.
6. It’s ok not to be an expert! Just because you’re gay or bisexual doesn’t mean you have all the answers when it comes to transgender issues. If your friends or colleagues want to learn more, encourage them to check out the resources listed below. No matter what, you can always fall back on the simple statement that you do know you want to live in a world where everyone is free to be themselves.
For more information…
1. About Transgender People by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). This resource covers trans terminology, personal stories, and suggested actions to take for trans allies.
2. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National LGBTQ Task Force and NCTE. This publication gives a short statistical overview of anti-trans discrimination in the US.
3. Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide by Transgender Europe. This project gives insight into the situation for trans people all over the world through personal stories, tracking of violent crime, and cataloguing laws and policies on every continent.
4. The Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP). Trans Justice Funding Project is backing some of the best trans activism around the US. One way to support trans people this week is to model respectful behavior towards Jenner. Another way is to give a donation to the organizations listed here. Our movement requires the commitment of activists and it also requires funding.
Today is a BIG day for Grindr – it’s our sixth birthday! It has been an amazing ride full of new features, designs and additions to the Grindr family.
First and foremost, we have to thank our amazing users all around the world – it's because of them that we’ve remained the category leader ever since we pioneered location-based meet-up apps. From the beginning, we focused on a simple solution to a big problem, and Grindr hasn’t deviated from that path and neither have millions of dedicated Grindr guys. And even though our look has evolved over the years, the app is still the fastest, easiest way to meet guys nearby.
We’ve had the opportunity to partner with great organizations like amfAR and ORAM for initiatives through Grindr for Equality to advance gay rights internationally. Grindr has broken into mainstream culture and is regularly on TV shows from “The Simpsons” to “Broad City” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” among others. Most recently, Madonna turned to Grindr as a launch platform for her latest album.
We have an accomplished and growing LA-based team that is continuously working to make the app easier and more fun for our users. Our team works with cutting-edge technology and are always thinking about how to tackle challenges to keep Grindr at the forefront of location-based apps. We are incredibly grateful to our team for their amazing contributions that make Grindr all that it is today.
We’ve recently updated Grindr’s profile and chat capabilities and in the future we’re working to make it even faster and easier for guys to meet. If you think you have what it takes and are interested to being part of a globally recognized, rapidly expanding pioneer app, Grindr is always looking for talented people to join the team and we pay top of the market for engineering talent. Come help make the next six years even more amazing.
Midterm elections are right around the corner on November 4 – and we here at Grindr were curious to see how users felt about the current state of politics. We surveyed more than 2,400 of our Grindr guys asking them about Obama, Hillary and who they thought was the sexiest President in U.S. history (we couldn’t resist). So, what did our users have to say? Let’s take a dive.
It’s no secret that Barack Obama has done more for the LGBT community than any other President in U.S. history and 66% of Grindr users have voted for him. However, 54% said they would not vote for him again if he was able to run for a hypothetical third term. Yikes, looks like Obama is losing his approval rating among Grindr guys.
But you know whose approval rating is through the roof? Hillary Clinton. If Hillary runs for President in 2016 (now that’s something we’d like to see), 53% of Grindr users said they would vote for her. In fact, a majority - 58% - would vote for Hillary Clinton if she was to hypothetically run against Barack Obama for President. And 23% said they wouldn’t vote for either (those were probably the Republicans. Yes, there are Republicans on Grindr).
Enough about the politicians, let’s see what Grindr users think of how is America doing.
65% of respondents feel that America is better off now than in 2008, and half said the weak economy is the biggest issue facing the U.S. today. The economy beat out other concerns such as healthcare, minority rights or an Ebola outbreak.
When asked who was the hottest U.S. President, Grindr users overwhelmingly (64%) chose John F. Kennedy as the president of their dreams. Barack Obama followed in second place with a notably lower 15%. We can’t blame them, JFK was a hottie, but we’ve all looked at that shirtless pic of Barack on the beach … and we were impressed.
So in a nutshell, our election poll tells us that Obama’s scorecard is waning, America is still concerned about the economy and Grindr users are backing Hillary in a major way.
In response to recent security allegations surrounding location data, Grindr is taking proactive measures to keep users safe in territories with a history of violence against the gay community. Any user who connects to Grindr is these countries will have their distance hidden automatically by default, which include Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. There are many more countries already being protected by this location change, and we will continue to add more to this list.
This change means that any user within these countries will not show distance on their profile (e.g. 1 mile away). Your location will not be able to be determined via trilateration or any other method, keeping your position private and secure. This change will not have any other effects on the Grindr experience as a whole: guys nearby will still populate in the correct order, with the first guy in the cascade being the closest to you.
Users that are not located in countries with anti-gay legislation will be able to see distance in profiles, as we believe geo-location technology is the best way to help guys meet up simply and efficiently. However, should you wish to hide your location data, simply open the side menu, tap ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy’ and turn ‘Show Distance’ off.
There is nothing that matters to us more than the safety and security of our user and the Grindr community. We will continue to find ways to keep our users private, especially in countries with anti-gay legislation.
Stay tuned for continued enhancements and new features in our upcoming app updates.