I tell you this because of recent political events, and because my and my family’s experience in coming to this country is very much the classic American story. We worked hard; we each created different and diverse kinds of lives for ourselves and our loved ones; and most importantly, we each contribute to the fabric of this country. And are forever grateful and proud to be American.
In the coming months, know that I am here, and I am vigilant.
I will be reaching out to our community, and to our allies. I will be resisting any and all forms of discrimination or repression that comes, whether or not it is specifically involving the rights of queer people specifically.
Because if we have learned anything from history, it is that the only way to hold on to our liberties, and the only way to keep this country as vibrant and important as we must, is by working together, constantly, as Americans.
Every immigrant story is unique. And every immigrant to America is part of the very fabric of our nation.
We can no more turn our backs on the refugees of other nations than we should ignore the rights of our own citizens.
I hope you join me. I hope we all join together.
In the end, that is the point of this great country.
It is why I came here in the first place.
– Joel Simkhai
As part of Grindr for Equality, we’re constantly aiming to support the health and safety of our users worldwide. Today marks a new step in that journey as we launch the HIV status and last test date fields in Grindr profiles.
The global HIV epidemic impacts gay, bi, and trans people in every country on earth. Our goal is to contribute to the movement to increase information, reduce HIV transmission, and support our whole community – regardless of HIV status – in living long and fulfilling lives, free of stigma.
Over the last year, we’ve talked to countless experts, including activists, public health professionals, and individual Grindr users from all walks of life, to understand whether and how to make this change. What stood out the most from these discussions is just how often we heard about the intense anxieties users had about bringing up sexual health when they were chatting on the app.
Professionals and users alike asked us for more ways to exchange information about things like HIV status, viral load, and PrEP use. For some, this might be the only way they connect with potential partners on the subject, and for others, it could spark a longer conversation.
We also heard from HIV-positive users about their particular experiences of both rejection and empowerment based on their status. Some poz guys had started putting [+] next to their username. Users told us this served two purposes—to avoid conversations that could end up being very painful, and also to be ‘out’ about their status to reduce shame and stigma through visibility. We hope this new status field will also help meet both of those needs, while affirming that it remains every person’s individual decision whether they choose to use these fields.
All of the information we gathered pushed us to add HIV status and last test date to Grindr profiles. It also helped us make decisions about how the fields will actually work. Users won’t be able to filter who they see in the app based on HIV status. Filling out the HIV status field is entirely optional.
The options a user can display are…
- HIV-positive, Undetectable
- HIV-negative, On PrEP.
By adding this feature, we hope to create an open dialogue among our users about sexual health. Honesty, compassion, and education lay the foundation to make Grindr an even safer space for guys to connect, and we can all contribute to getting there.
UPDATED 11/17/16 to include winners of our online global competition. Scroll down to see more!
Grindr, in partnership with HackerNest, announced the winners of their seven-week hackathon, Hack4Equality, this past week.
Grand Prize Winner:
- LooBot, created by Vicc Alexander and Marlon Lopez, is an SMS bot that connects those without wifi-access to gender-neutral restrooms and charging outlets nearby simply by sending a text to (424) 785-2026. The concept also won the LGBTQ Homelessness category prize.
- Kristening.me, created by Janet Jeffus and Alice Radulski, is an app that simplifies transgender name and identity change documentation. The concept also won the Transgender Visibility and Economic Empowerment category.
“Nothing beats building something for fun, while knowing that you can potentially improve the lives of millions of individuals,” said winner Vicc Alexander of LooBot. “We really hope more companies and cities around the world take a page out of Grindr’s book and make it their mission to host Hackathons and events that bring together people from all walks of life, and help foster creative solutions to real problems.”
For the past seven weeks close to 300 developers, designers and advocates were aided by open data from The White House’s Opportunity Project to build innovative apps that tackle various issues facing the LGBTQ community.
“It takes an idea and some passion to effect change,” said Grindr Founder and CEO, Joel Simkhai. “I am so grateful to all of the Hack4Equality participants and pleased to provide them with an opportunity to change the world as well as help the LGBTQ community become more accepted globally.”
Additional winners include:
- LGBT International Issues category winners: SpeakOut is a political advocacy platform that empowers citizens to share their personal stories and see the personal stories of others who are impacted by LGBT legislation. Through the app, it amplifies the user voices and also encourages them to contact their elected representatives. Developed by Chun-Wei Chen and Leonard Hyman.
- Access to Sexual Health Services & PrEP category winners: HeyBud is an AI and Human powered chat bot that answers sexually related questions, present users with access to health-related resources and automate complex on-boarding paperwork/processes required for health treatment, developed by Savalas Colbert and Eddie Aguilar.
Hack4Equality also included an online only global competition, and we’re pleased to announce the winners:
- raTe – shared trans experiences of healthcare, created by Mina Gäredal and Björn Johansson, allows trans people the possibility to review health care facilities based on one’s own experience, both by rating and in free-text reviews.
Best Integration with Grindr:
- Welcomr, created by Istvan Gates, Emerson Cloud, Aron Gates, and Russell Ratcliffe, provides a way for displaced LGBTQ peoples to connect with other LGBTQ members in their area of choice using SMS-based text messaging.
For more information visit Hack4Equality.com.
The results of our voting survey have arrived just in time for Voter Registration Day. Scroll down to see how Grindr users choose so hard.
And if you haven’t already….REGISTER TO VOTE NOW. Seriously, we’re not into waiting.
NOTE: This survey was conducted BEFORE the debate on 9/26.
Grindr is partnering with photographer Matt Lambert to cast for a one of a kind photoshoot.
We’re looking for real Grindr users who are open minded and bold with an edge who want to take part in a highly creative project. All models will be paid and you must be comfortable with nudity.
The photoshoot is taking place in Orlando on Tuesday September 27th and Wednesday September 28th. We will not provide airfare or work visas for this project.
Please send an email to [email protected] with the following information:
Name, age, contact, time availability, and a recent clear image of your face and full body. If the photographer is interested, he’ll contact you via email.
Please visit http://dielamb.com/ to see the artist’s work.
We look forward to seeing you.