Grindr at the US Department of Health and Human Services Bisexual Health Convening
When I received the invitation to attend the US Department of Health and Human Services’ convening on bisexual health, I knew I had to be there. Not only is this work very personal to me as a bi-identified man, but my position at Grindr for Equality also gives me an opportunity to impact the lives of bisexual Grindr users everyday. And yet, there’s still so much we don’t know about the unique health needs of the bi community. Luckily, that research gap was a major point of discussion during the day and the National Institute of Health, among other government players, are hard at work trying to generate the research we need to have the impact we want to have.
Having said all that, the picture is beginning to be clearer when it comes to bi health. For example, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) put out a report in 2015 that detailed more than we’ve ever known about bi people’s experiences in the United States. Their research showed that bi people were more likely to be living in poverty than their heterosexual or gay counterparts. Plus, one in five bi people has lost a job simply because of who they are and who they love. Bisexual women experience higher levels of sexual and intimate partner violence than their counterparts who are straight or lesbian, and their rates of suicidal ideation and mental health conditions are elevated too.
Obviously all this leads to poor health outcomes and big-picture disparities that oppress bi people across the board. Luckily, there are many of us who are committed to turning these stats around, including those of us at Grindr for Equality. Even with the lack of data on bi men, we always design our programs with bi people in mind. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC) to promote Together TakeMeHome, a program that delivers up to two free HIV home test kits every ninety days to any Grindr user (or anyone at all) who needs it. That service is accessible regardless of sexual orientation and is discrete enough to be used regardless of how many people in someone’s life even know about their specific orientation.
From the wider perspective too, Grindr is about facilitating connections between members of our community. One of the things that exacerbates a bi person’s experience of discrimination is queer isolation. So when we come together and provide mutual support, love, and friendship, even for a fleeting moment, we’re also fighting back against the things that harm us as a group.