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Grindr for Equality, the app’s advocacy arm, and the Russian LGBT Network, a St.
Petersburg–based gay rights group, worked together at the height of the crackdown in April to distribute updates, as well as a hotline number and email addresses for aid and evacuation assistance, via the app.
Grindr isn’t the only gay app getting in on the rebranding game.
They appear to be reconceptualizing spaces that have historically been bulwarks against anti-gay bigotry; spaces where one can, at least to a degree, enjoy being in public without mainstream judgment.
They’re helping, in other words, make the connections so many queers have been yearning for all along.
This isn’t to suggest that having an out presence in public spaces is the only thing that matters for strengthening the community, especially when vulnerability often attends visibility.
Grindr, for instance, seems to be looking to shed its scurrilous image as “just a hookup app.” In March, the company that pioneered the geolocation-based, casual sex–facilitating sensation launched the online magazine Into.
CEO Joel Simkhai told in a recent interview that “millions of Grindr users [were] asking us to figure out what’s going on around them,” so the company decided to start curating culture-minded content.
Far from keeping queer men on the fringes, these apps are fueling a novel knowingness among users—on the app, yes, but also offline, when users go out to create and engage with open communities.