Grindr is an app gay men use to find casual sex. It boasts 3 million daily users. As you might imagine, it allows for all manner of disturbing activities between its users — and I don’t just mean GHB-fuelled orgies. Grindr has become not only a major factor in the resurgence of some sexually-transmitted diseases, but it’s now frequently used by drug dealers, too.
When dealers are caught hawking meth on Grindr, most of the time they aren’t even banned: they merely have their profiles wiped clean in a form of instant rehabilitation. They can just sign up again and carry on, and that’s what they do. And that’s before we get to the app company’s woefully inadequate efforts to stop the spread of Aids and other diseases through its platform. There’s also the rampant prostitution. Fire up the app in any major city and it’s pot luck whether the torso you tap belongs to someone looking to get down — or looking to get paid.
A secret code of emojis and jargon — the twenty-first century version of Polari — signals to other users whether the glistening, rock-hard abs that have caught your attention actually belong to a chubby 5’9” Albanian coke slinger with a weekend special on 8-balls. Recently, dealers told NBC News that Grindr is their preferred avenue for conducting business. As a result, say concerned Grindr-watchers, the crystal meth epidemic has roared back into the gay community after being on the decline for years.
Meeting strangers for sex on the basis of a couple of photos, a quick chat and the fact that they are nearby, is an inherently dangerous thing to do. But cracking down on the risky behavior of its users would kill Grindr’s business. In the UK there was a Grindr serial killer, and in the US, the app is used to commit armed robbery. Who even knows how much rape it facilitates. Yet unlike Uber, about which there are dozens of stories involving sexual assaults by drivers, Grindr is almost completely ignored by the press, because it’s a seedy underworld catering to homosexuals, and the victims of Grindr crimes almost never come forward.
It didn’t take long for me to find a user telling a harrowing story in the comments section of Grindr’s Instagram page. He described being kidnapped by someone he met on the app, after escaping in the middle of the night and reporting the man to police, he attempted to block the guy, only to discover he didn’t have “any free blocks” remaining and had to endure recurring harassment. The alleged assailant then deleted his account and started a new one, in order to continue harassing the victim.
Grindr, it appears, values up-selling services to its users over protecting them from violent criminals. And as the market leader, Grindr does less than its smaller rivals to keep users safe, as the Instagram user noted, by not using IP addresses to track blocks, the way gay sex apps like Hornet do.
To peruse Grindr’s Instagram page provides yet another example of how the intersectionality of technology companies and political correctness drives a wedge between the majority of users at the bottom and the social engineers at the top. The majority of “models” featured on that page aren’t what most would consider the epitome of male beauty and when one comes along who is marginally masculine, it gets three times the number of likes from Grindr’s own followers.
As for disease, a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control reported over 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, what the study’s director called “an all time high,” in the U.S. The previous year, health researchers found a shocking 33 per cent increase in HIV infections in just a year. Left-wing blog Vox noted at the end of last year that “health experts increasingly view apps and sites such as Grindr … as enablers of high-risk sex … The impact of these sites is so profound they are also transforming the way health officials track and prevent outbreaks.”
Grindr, in response to findings, fell back on the old Silicon Valley chestnut, “We’re just a platform,” refusing to acknowledge its role in a new public health epidemic. Maybe they’re worried about putting off their users, which makes me wonder whether the staff of Grindr consists exclusively of sex-starved middle-age lesbians with no idea of the lengths to which men will go to get off. If gay men weren’t dissuaded from going to bathhouses at the height of the Aids crisis, why would they be deterred by Grindr being a bit more responsible about the hooking and snorting on its platform?
CEO Joel Simkhai doesn’t seem to care: he won’t talk about any of this. We can only judge Grindr’s priorities from its actions and its public statements, since it won’t talk honestly about its role in making people sick and providing them with drugs and rent boys. So what does Grindr care about? A clue emerged at the end of July, with the release of “Kindr,” an “anti-racism” initiative aimed at fighting “sexual racism,” a newish preoccupation of the progressive Left, formerly known as “Why won’t anyone fuck me?”
In other words, Grindr appears to be fine with illegal substances, disease, and cash for cock, but woe betide you if you have the wrong sexual preference. And there was me, thinking that policing gay men’s sexuality went out with the Spice Girls. Alas, it’s back, and it’s not prurient evangelical Republicans worrying about sex in public toilets — it’s social justice warriors instructing the rest of us who we ought to find sexually attractive, and branding us bigots if we don’t.
(Of course, finding minorities too attractive is racist, too: if you spend the early hours of your mornings not lurking in loos but waiting in line with the illegals at Home Depot — knowing that the only difference between a straight Mexican and a gay one is dos cervezas — you’re guilty of “sexual colonialism” or “fetishizing bodies of color.” Guilty as charged!)
Leave it to Social Justice to take a perfectly normal part of human sexuality and see a gaping hole primed to receive a sticky glob of Marxism.
It’s not only who you want to fuck, either. Grindr requires its users to have very specific views about controversial medical issues, drawn not from research on treatment pathways or surgical outcomes, but from the hysterics of Left-wing Twitter activists. Step outside the progressive consensus on the trans question, in particular, and you risk having your profile wiped, as though you were a drug dealer or a prostitute. Grindr’s punishment for being a conservative is the same as its approach to a call girl or candy man. It’s not allowed.
The schoolmarmish tone of Kindr’s tagline, “It’s time to play nice!” is pretty creepy coming from a site where users are begging for everything from fecal play to transgender dominatrix sex-mummification. But the catalyst for it was something far more gruesome and degenerate than any of the fetid sex-play Grindr enables: political correctness. Californian Aids-vector Grindr seems to care more about shrieking and hurt feelings from pink snowflakes than protecting the health of its users. In other words, it’s just like the rest of the gay establishment, which long ago gave up its role as defenders of gay men to pander to lesbian obsessions and transgender pronouns.
Occasionally, though not very often, users will declare racial preferences in their profiles. These preferences are by no means confined to “WHITES ONLY,” though that’s the clear implication of this new campaign. For instance, the Editor-at-Large of this magazine used to write: “Don’t contact me if you’re under seven inches and/or know who your dad is.” The truth is, minorities can be just as picky and particular and — by the social justice definition — “racist” in their sexual preferences as the rest of us.
But leave it to Social Justice, Inc to take a perfectly normal and benign part of human sexuality and see a gaping hole primed to receive a sticky glob of Marxism. The mission of Kindr is to protect the hurt feelings of victim-minded minorities. Why? It’s not like either party is going to enjoy the hook-up if one person is shamed into inviting the other over despite their own deeply-held sexual preference. You can’t change what people find attractive, so what is the objective of screeching about sexual racism? And does Grindr have any idea what black men, for instance, actually want?
I get really dark and offensive messages from blacks seeking race play about once a week. And when I made a pro-Trump profile, vastly more normal blacks contacted me too. To be truthful, more people of all races contact me in friendly ways because of my clear conservatism. It appears there’s some sort of notion in the zeitgeist that Republicans might be more masculine and dominant, and men who are attracted to men might possibly find those qualities desirable. Mind-blowing, I know.
Grindr’s incursion into sexual policing began last year, when the Walmart of ass opened its doors to women and trannies. In addition to making a public statement about being “inclusive,” Grindr added a “gender” and “pronouns” category to user profiles. This move sent a chill across the platform.
Trannies and the “straight” men who chase them now populate the gaytrix, which only gives non-paying users up to 100 profiles to view at a time: in other words, the user experience has been dramatically damaged for the majority of Grindr’s user base thanks to this unnecessary pandering. To say nothing of the risks involved in those rare, few transsexuals who can “pass.” The grand unveiling of a stranger in your bedroom is supposed to be exciting. Grindr’s social justice commitment risks turning it into a horror movie.
It is evident on the vast majority of profiles how normal gay men feel about Grindr’s social justice swing: they’ve turned those profile fields into a joke, entering in ever more entertaining and ridiculous responses to the “Gender” and “Pronoun” questions in a quiet act of rebellion. On my own profile, which recently caused a kerfuffle in the fagosphere, under the “Gender” category, I wrote “There are only 2.”
Grindr removed my profile twice for that, scolding me: “Your profile has been censored for containing banned words.” I tweeted about it, calling out the hypocrisy of a digital fuck den policing thought while encouraging truly deadly and destructive behavior, and even tagged the FBI as a joke. Grindr never got back to me about which of the words “there,” “are,” “only” and “2” is banned on its platform, but they did respond to the controversy by releasing a cringeworthy t-shirt making their feelings clear.
Personally, I don’t care if people on Grindr, or anywhere, are using or selling drugs, buying prostitutes, fucking trannies, giving themselves Aids. Sexuality is messy and complex and we don’t need an iPhone app policing our interactions with other human beings. Weren’t things better when we were left to deal with each other on our own? I’ll never stop making jokes in my Grindr profile, but plenty of those who get kicked off come back with muted bios shorn of any jokes. Humor is one way people bond, and jokes are also how some people communicate their values: Effectively, Grindr is outlawing certain kinds of pick-up line.
For the dealers and hookers, it’s business as usual after a ban. The platform doesn’t just tolerate them, it arguably needs them to shore up its active user base. But the message to Republicans is clear: keep the facts and science off our platform. And especially the humor. Sorry boys, the poor trannies just can’t take it.
Chadwick Moore is a journalist and political commentator, currently working on his first book. He tweets at @Chadwick_Moore.
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