Here’s a clear example of the internalised homophobia one can expect to encounter on a very frequent basis on Grindr.
The profile is of a young man, 23 years old, white, just moved to Australia from overseas. All he has to say about himself is where he is located and that he is “very straight acting”. In response to this statement I wrote “Except for all that damned cock you’ve been sucking” (I know, I know, I was asking for trouble!!!)
Other pieces on this blog describe what the term “straight acting” really means, how offensive it is to men who have accepted their sexuality, and how it actually describes the state of “unacceptableness of the self” currently experienced by the user.
I knew when I contacted this guy that the reaction would range from mildly annoyed to outright hostility, and that trying to convince him to change his ill-informed beliefs on the subject would be impossible. I have yet to meet a “straight acting” gay with enough courage who was willing to look critically at himself. But hey, I thought I’d try to sew the seed anyway, and perhaps he will think about it some other time as a result.
The reaction was mild (a pleasant surprise) but made me sad. He calls, jokingly, his love of cock “his only weakness” (again we find ourselves in “gay acts are bad territory”). He follows this up by calling me a “self righteous gay” (again his tone is one of “me=straight, you=gay”). Finally the sad bit where he admits he isn’t “proud to be gay, he just is” which is a combination of both “to be gay is bad” and “I’m just normal, not like those wooly woofters over there.”
I know he is young and the research shows instances of internalised homophobia are more common and more aggressively portrayed in younger gay men, but I just wanted to show the kinds of attitudes exhibited on Grindr. The unfortunate fact is that profiles of all ages portray the “straight is good, gay is bad” attitude that I and many self-respecting gay men find so offensive.
My biggest question is how can these people be reasoned with on the subject? I dont know if it is possible. I really think that Grindr needs to take responsibility for it, because the folks there have positioned themselves in a place of power amongst the community, and are reaping the financial rewards of having such a successful site.
If they moderated it more, and kept these offensive terms out of view, they would be sending a message to users that certain terms are unacceptable. Unfortunately the Grindrers at Grindr are completely silent on the matter.