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We recently conducted an early Grindr election poll, turning up some super interesting results, including how LGBTQ voters reject simplistic “identity politics” and vote on much broader issues affecting them AND their fellow Americans. Oh, and they have preferences among the field of 2016 presidential candidates.
Based on the big picture generated by the survey numbers – Grindr users are highly engaged in the electoral process, concerned about local and not just national issues, and motivated by “culture wars” involving gay and other rights issues are playing out through elections.
Profile of an LGBTQ Voter. Among the 1,718 Grindr users who responded, 76% say they vote in both general and presidential elections; 75% told us that, recognizing the influence local school boards have over things like allowing LGBTQ-inclusive books in schools, they feel moved to get even more involved in such local elections; and 64% indicated that the “culture wars” boost their intention to be active in the non-presidential elections.
It’s the Economy, Stupid. When asked to name the “biggest issue” facing America today, for Grindr voters like many others, it’s still “the economy, stupid” at 50%. Other leading issues were immigration (10.3%) and healthcare (9.8%). Our users also take a holistic view of rights issues – “minority rights” outpolled “LGBT rights” 9% to 3%.
After Marriage Equality, Then Comes... That said, LGBTQ matters still remain front and center on Grindr guys’ minds. Asked “After marriage equality, what’s next for the LGBTQ movement in the U.S.?” – 41% singled out “Pushing forward the Equality Act to end legal LGBTQ discrimination.” “Fighting HIV/AIDS” drew 15% of votes; then, “ensuring that states follow the law on marriage and adoption” was selected by 12.4% and after that “strengthening transgender rights” was the choice of 11.5%.
Young with a Point of View. What’s the profile of these electorally savvy Grindr users? They are young or young-ish – 56% told us they were either in the 20-29 or 30-39 age groups. As for political affiliation – more than half of our respondents identified as Democrats (51%); with 19% Independents and 15% Republicans.
Bernie Takes the Lead. And who are they thinking of voting for in the presidential contest? Well, among the Democrats, it’s a close race between the two front runners, with Bernie Sanders edging out Hillary Clinton 38% to 35%. The Donald was the man on top among Grindr Republicans – tapped by 21%. John Kasich and Jeb Bush came next, each with 7%. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina were both at the 5% level, with others in that crowded field trailing behind.
Overall, we’re proud to say that Grindr guys are electorally-aware and ready to have their voices heard come November 3rd. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Rock the Vote this year for National Voter Registration Day. In recognition of the day, we’ll be urging all of our users across the nation to get registered. If you haven’t already, take a few moments to register so you’re ready come Election Day!
Your vote = your future!
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[Grindr’s 2015 Election Survey was distributed as an in-app poll to Grindr’s US user base over the weekend of September 12-13, with 1,718 users responding before the polls closed.]
In 2008, I was working at National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), soaking up as much as I could about how a non-trans guy like me could most affectively stand in solidarity with the T in LGBTQ, when I happened to be invited to a meeting about the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS). Back then it was still a nascent project that had grown out of the fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the longstanding struggle to illustrate the anti-trans violence and discrimination we knew was taking place all around the country.
You see, until then we had always been able to use hard hitting stories – individual activists and impacted community members had been sharing their experiences of being fired, being evicted, and being attacked in order to bring light to the bigger issues for years. But what we did not have was statistics. So every time we went into a school district or an elected official’s office or a corporation advocating for change, we were met with the same questions that, unfortunately we could not answer: how bad is the problem really and where is the data to prove it. I, personally, had a staff person from the House of Representatives look me in the eye and tell me that she understood what we were saying but she was pretty sure there were no trans people in her boss’ Congressional district.
That’s when we knew that if nobody else was going to gather the data, we were going to have to do it ourselves. And what we found was astonishing, even for us. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey of 6,456 respondents found that:
Fast-forward to today and things are looking a little different. That first survey has yielded concrete results -- since we published the findings four years ago, that report has been quoted in virtually every press article and academic paper concerning trans experience in the U.S. and often around the world.
When I started working at NCTE in 2008, I could never have anticipated the level of visibility and forward motion the trans movement would achieve in such a short period of time.
Of course, we know that the realities of anti-trans discrimination are still brutal – at least eighteen murders of trans women were documented in the United States just this year. And that’s why we must continue the documentation project we started with NTDS.
This week is the last chance for trans and non-binary-identified folks in the United States to fill out the U.S. Trans Survey, which continues to the grassroots survey research work to document trans realities. This has been crucially important to me personally as we have a chance to talk to even more trans folks all over the country than we did last time. It’s also been a great chance for Grindr and Grindr for Equality – Grindr’s social movement created in 2012 to raise awareness for LGBT issues and spur action across the globe – to leverage our network of users in the trans Grindr tribe to make sure our folks know this is going on and give them a chance to make their voices heard.
Watch this page for the results in early 2016, when we look at what new truths are uncovered and how those of us who are not trans in the Grindr community can make a difference for our siblings.
- Jack Harrison-Quintana, Director of Grindr for Equality, Grindr
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Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of attending the Western States Center conference, Activists Mobilizing for Power (AMP). I set out with the intention of connecting with social justice folks working in states like Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. In states like these, where LGBTQ people may be geographically spread out, we know Grindr for Equality – Grindr’s advocacy program created in 2012 to raise awareness for LGBTQ issues and spur action across the globe – can do a lot to connect people to movements towards justice in their areas. One happy byproduct of the trip was that I got a chance to catch up with my friend Jamee Greer, who now works at the Center but spent many years with the Montana Human Rights Network. I picked Jamee’s brain about his experience and started to talk a bit about Grindr’s role. See below for some highlights of that conversation:
JACK: As someone who spent so much time working in Montana, how do you think rural organizing is different from what’s gone on in more urban places?
JAMEE: I think you definitely see more allies moving into and initiating LGBTQ-affirming projects and programs. There are some PFLAG moms and dads in Montana that I would elect to the office of President. They're so organized, dedicated and passionate about their children's lives. There are a lot of LGBTQ folks that leave Montana. Of course, not everybody does leave, sometimes because of a lack of resources to do so or simply for not wanting to. But for a large number of folks, they move because they want a different environment. After ten years of organizing, I became one of those people. The "gay brain drain" some folks call it. It's a real thing that shapes the politics and direction of the movement in a way that folks in Portland or Seattle (where many of us go) never know.
JACK: What was the hardest part of your job in Montana?
JAMEE: The first couple years I was a paid organizer working on LGBTQ equality, I was literally the only paid organizer dedicated full-time to doing this work in the entire state. I mean, the state is more than 600 miles wide and 250 miles tall! It's huge. It would often feel isolating, even though I was engaging queer folks from all over because I couldn't find folks to relate to professionally in just the right way. Also being a queer lobbyist in the Montana State Capitol Building took a toll. They just didn't know what to do with me and no matter what they said to keep me away, I just kept coming back!
JACK: Do you have specific recommendations for LGBTQ people who are living in big cities or just in places where they have non-discrimination protections about how they can support activism in rural communities?
JAMEE: Remember that the experiences of rural LGBTQ people exist; they can tell their own stories and those stories aren't going to be universal. That there are queer and transgender rural folks, that there are LGBTQ people of color, there are queer folks with access to money and some without. Perhaps it's because the stories of rural queers are so rarely shared in the media consumed by people in larger cities, but it often feels like rural queers are either totally ignored, turned into punchlines, or become tales of tragedy. For a bunch of reasons, including the different identities we hold that make some queer people's experiences different than others, the lives of LGBTQ rural folks are experienced in dynamic ways. What I'm saying is, don't assume that all LGBTQ folks living in rural spaces are miserable or in a constant struggle with oppression. But the truth is that rural queer folks have fewer community resources and connections, just fewer queer people, to connect with in places like Montana. The general culture feels like it's changing fast, but it's still got a way to go and setbacks like the failure of a pro-LGBTQ policy, a report of discrimination without any legal recourse for a person to take, or an act of anti-LGBTQ violence against one of us - is a reminder of the work that we have left to do. Support the groups and organizers on the ground in rural spaces, give to the groups centering the leadership of the communities most effected by oppressions.
JACK: Do you have any thoughts about how Grindr can be useful as a platform for rural organizers?
JAMEE: I like that these apps can educate people through ads because you have their eyes scrolling regularly. It's a good opportunity to link the organizations doing the work on the ground to people most effected, not just on LGBTQ non-discrimination policies but also spreading the word about issues, like PrEP access and sexual health, and answering questions like, "What doctors are cool? How do I ask my doctor for PrEP? Is my prescription private?"
- Jack Harrison-Quintana, Director of Grindr for Equality, Grindr
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Health promotion, research, and political action are the three pillars of our work here at Grindr for Equality. Today, I’m excited to report on the second of those three and give everyone a glimpse into a project we’ve got cooking with my longtime collaborators over at the Beijing Gender Health and Education Institute (BGHEI).
I’ve done a lot of work with survey research in the past, most notably on the National Transgender Discrimination Survey with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National LGBTQ Task Force. But what hadn’t occurred to me when I first found out about Grindr for Equality was the incredible possibility this program holds for amplifying the voices of gay and bisexual men all over the world.
With users in 196 countries and the biggest network of gay and bi men in existence, Grindr makes our capacity to answer long-time questions about our communities much more attainable. Of course, when we think about the Grindr users of China, we know that they don’t represent everyone under the LGBTQ umbrella. We’re mostly talking about gay and bi men, with some trans and non-binary folks also among our users. Secondly, there’s the question of socioeconomics. Grindr runs on iPhones and on Android phones, so LGBTQ people who don’t have smart phones won’t be included in this sample.
Nevertheless, being able to ask questions of this group will yield data that we’ve never had before and help advocates and service providers to do their work better. To begin this process, we asked the folks at BGHEI what are the things they don’t know about the Chinese gay and bi men’s community that they need to know.
We hope to follow up this initial study with more in the future. But to start, we collaborated with them and their networks to produce a set of twelve questions including…
• Do your parents know about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity?
• Have you moved to a different city or province so you can avoid telling your family members about your sexual orientation?
• Do you have straight friends who know about your sexual orientation?
Of course, we are not suggesting that anyone ought to tell their parents and friends about their LGBTQ identity; we know people face various levels of risk and each individual alone must make those decisions. However, these kinds of questions will help to establish a baseline about Chinese Grindr users’ social support systems as LGBTQ people.
To conclude, we ask the respondents two open-ended questions for which they can write in whatever they want. Those two questions are…
• Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
• Are there any questions you would like us to ask everyone in future surveys?
Both of these are important because they give the respondents a chance to really speak for themselves about what they think is important for both BGHEI and Grindr for Equality to know. It also invites respondents into the research process, offering everyone a chance to provide feedback about questions we could ask in the future.
The survey will be fielded in September in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Respondents will have the option to take it in Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese. Look for the results by the end of the year in this space.
健康宣传、研究和政治活动是我们在Grindr for Equality网站的三大工作核心。今天，我很高兴在此就这三大核心内容中的第二项进行报告，并向大家介绍一下我们与长期合作者北京性健康教育研究会（Beijing Gender Health and Education Institute, BGHEI）正在开展的一个项目。
在过去，我已经在调查研究方面做了大量的工作，最突出的便是与全国跨性别平等中心（National Center for Transgender Equality, NCTE）和全国男女同性恋者、双性恋者、跨性别者与酷儿工作组织（National LGBTQ Task Force）合作的全国跨性别歧视调查。但是，当我刚刚知道Grindr for Equality网站的时候，我并没有意识到该项目提供了难以置信的可能性，使得全球男同性恋者和男双性恋者的声音得以扩大。
这两个问题都很重要，因为它们让受访者有机会真实表达自己的看法，说出他们所认为的对BGHEI和Grindr for Equality都重要的事项。它还请受访者参与该研究过程，为他们提供机会，就我们今后可能会提出的问题提供反馈。