I only recently came across Christopher Gen’s call to arms against the influx of men questioning their sexuality and their use of Grindr to explore their identity. The writer is obviously thoroughly misguided and misinformed on LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex – because yes, sexuality truly is a spectrum) culture and his commentary on such a matter can only be read as the whiny complaint of a gay man scorned for misusing a social networking application that does not cater to what he looks for in an ideal man. Before I dissect each poorly articulated concern regarding the degradation of gay men as a community by those who are not “man enough to admit what you want,” I suggest that Christopher choose a different network the next time he’s looking for a romantic connection.
Grindr, for those of you who are not already aware, is a web application on smartphones which allows users, most popularly gay men, to upload a picture and profile to connect with other gay men in their immediate area. It is advertised as “the largest and most popular all-male location-based social network” with which one is able to “find gay, bi, and curious guys for free near you.” The company’s simple business model should be information enough for you to determine and understand the reason for its popularity.
What? I was just being honest. Haven't you ever had a cookie from Schmackary's?
Let us first explore the cruising culture very much pertinent to and having a long history within our community. At face value cruising is a great way to get your rocks off in an efficient fashion, but at its core it has and continues to allow those who do not self-identify as gay or queer, or those who are socially or geographically isolated from a more socially diverse and accepting center, to safely explore their questions and desires. As a great friend pointed out, “if acculturation to gay identity is the goal (as the writer suggests) it makes more sense that we keep Grindr open for those who can explore sex gradually, by degree, according to their comfort levels, rather than immediately excluding them for not inhabiting gay identity.”
Now, if I am to respond to the “questionable morals and ethics of Grindr” and the author’s “dislike [of] being treated like a piece of meat or, more aptly, a quick snack,” I must also address his blatant shaming of sexual exploration, bi-phobia, and sexuality at large. If you claim to be comfortable with your sexuality since the age of thirteen, it seems a little backwards, not to mention insensitive, to be so adamantly against such basic human natures as curiosity, attraction, and sexual desire. The fact that one is able to come out of the proverbial closet at an earlier age these days is a radical, progressive, and amazing gift. Looking down upon and ostracizing those who are not so fortunate to have the support system and means to do so is simply disgusting to me.
For someone who takes an active stance against the “belittling of the gay community” and stands up for “people [who have] struggled with their sexuality” the author makes a very strong point of calling out “quasi-heteros, married men and ‘bi’ guys that simply want to ‘try it’” for not subscribing to a black and white label of “authentic” sexuality. I don’t see the problem with exploring ones sexuality, nor do I understand placing shame on those who choose to engage in it. Did we already forget about the gay right’s movement, sexual revolution, and move away from archaic, outdated, and Puritan views on sexuality and concept of morality?
This response to your article, Christopher, is intended to be a platform from which we can discuss the subject of sexual shaming because it is a prevalent and persistent thorn on the humanity’s foot. I definitely agree with you on the fact that we, as gay men living out and proud, are brave but I must reiterate that it gives us no right to condemn those who are conflicted and questioning. It should also be noted that your observation reads like a tirade so I advise you to pick the venues for which you to choose to find a romantic engagement with greater caution. Drop your ManHunt profile and try your hand with okCupid.
You can read Christopher Gen's article "Comment: Is Grindr now a hunting ground for technically straight, married men?" here.