I’ve read a number of opinion articles, including several in this Magazine, about Grindr. The overriding theme of any article about the app seems to be a tongue-in-cheek complaint about how everyone using it is a disgusting pervert. Except them. I’m simply here to suggest that maybe there are websites, or even public places better suited to these people, because to use Grindr and complain about all the people trying to hook up is surely a losing battle, like standing on a golf course and complaining about all the golfers.
An article on here went further and suggested that gay men having casual sex reinforced negative stereotypes, and was in some way harmful. I take exception to this. Casual sex has been part of gay culture in the past due to the need for secrecy whilst homosexuality was still a criminal offence. However, in this day and age, gay men are free to have civil partnerships, and probably marry soon. That doesn’t mean that promiscuity is wrong or shameful. Sexual promiscuity is only viewed as wrong by the same religious institutions that thought (or still think) that homosexuality is wrong. There’s no need for the gay community to adhere to ‘slut shaming’ in order to achieve equality.
People who use Grindr to have casual sex are never portrayed in a positive light in these articles. They’re sad, or desperate, or pathetic. People who admit to using Grindr will often claim that they find it funny, or are somehow being more post-modern than anyone else using it. I personally find this condescending attitude more objectionable than anything that two consenting adults do in private, whether they ever speak again or not.
Whilst Grindr may seem seedy or clandestine to an outsider, the fact remains that gay men can’t simply go to a coffee shop and make fleeting eye contact with a mysterious stranger, or brush hands with a man in a library as they both reach for a copy of The Old Man and the Sea. Most gay men only feel comfortable meeting people in spaces marked as LGBT. In most places, this narrows it down to ‘the scene’, and there’s a lot of reasons why Grindr would be a more appealing option to many people than this. Maybe they don’t drink, maybe they’re seen as too old by most people in your average gay bar. Maybe, just maybe, they’re violently allergic to the music of Nicki Minaj, and don’t like the fact that they play it too loud to hear what the safe word is.
Of course I have no real objection to people using the app for other purposes such as dating or killing time, it’s more the attitude that I have an issue with. We live in an age where wanting to have casual sex is not something a person can realistically be ridiculed or shamed for, though why anyone would even want to escapes me.
I will happily put my hands up to being one of the sad, pathetic perverts on Grindr. I see no shame in it. There’s no reason technology should be exempt from making that area of life easier as it has done with everything else. Besides, at least I don’t use it for ‘networking’. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds disgusting.