When I first happened upon the story written by The Daily Beast’s Nico Hines, titled: The Other Olympic Sport In Rio: Swiping (since removed and replaced with an apology) I was honestly not quite interested enough to finish the entire piece. Gay athletes on Grindr at the Olympics? Ok. Hashtag ‘duh.’ I originally read it as a sort of straight-guy-goes-on-an-expedition in an old explorer’s hat deal and thought it was kind of funny he acted so surprised at his findings.
I honestly did not expect the meltdown that would soon fall upon the topic or the remarkably aggressive nature of the backlash. Within a few hours I began seeing ‘This is disgusting!!’ over headlines of the story on my facebook and twitter.
Michelangelo Signorile expressed his outrage in the above Huffington Post article:
Hines, on the other hand, had to actually go undercover to lure people on a dating and hook-up app — people who were for the most part not showing their faces until they trusted this deceptive individual — to tell him about their sexual desires, activities, preferences and tastes at a given moment...
...What Hines did is equivalent to going undercover into a public restroom or a gay bar or sex club and luring people into revealing information about their sexual lives — people who may be deeply closeted because they could be fired, ostracized or arrested — basically entrapping them, and then making the details public.
It serves no purpose journalistically, however interesting it might be to some people, as there’s no reason we need to know the information — surely not if it means someone’s life might be terribly affected.
Of course, Mr. Signorile reveled in the exact same behavior in January of this year tweeting out a Towleroad peice titled: Anti-Gay Republican Lawmaker Caught Cruising on Grindr, and the Voting Records Point to…He certainly seemed thrilled at the prospect of discovering Catholic priests using Grindr by saying “Fun to actually use Grindr at Vatican.” in 2013 and a month later wrote a Huffington Post article about a Christian blogger who was outed after being caught on Grindr which he interviewed.
In 2012 he retweeted an article by Huffington Post Gay spoofing the idea of men being on Grindr at the GOP convention that year.
Going beyond spoofing, in 2012 CNN iReport posted a video compilation of men found on Grindr with Republican references at the RNC.
“...we thought it would be an interesting expose’ to run the app in the middle of the major Republican National Convention speeches just to see if anyone in the arena was “single and ready to mingle.”
Queerty titled an article The Number of M4M Craigslist Ads Have Skyrocketed Since #RNCinCLE Rolled into Town. The article provides a screenshot of the many listings which include ‘RNC’ in the title.
In 2015, a reporter with ReasonTV went to the Conservative Political Action Conference and logged on to Grindr only to find dozens of gay men less than 500 feet away from him. Then, of course, there are all those antigay pastors, lawmakers and other community figures who have been caught on gay dating apps.
The ‘pastors’ link goes to an article with a photo, full name, title, the school he works for, their address and screenshots of a Grindr conversation the reporter had with him including private photos he shared. The ‘other community figures’ link is titled: Five “Straight” Guys Who Have Grindr to Thank for Accidentally Coming Out. This too includes personal details, photos and screenshots.
Gay Star News jumped into the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a shamelessly titled article What happens if you turn on Grindr at a Republican Conference? He created a profile with the name: ‘Gay at CPAC?’
The Huffington Post’s Queer Voices published an article called Reporter Uses Grindr at CPAC Gathering to Track Down Gay Men.
There are dozens more articles across the LGBT and liberal blogosphere and they seem to squeal with joy at the prospect of outing a Christian pastor or ‘anti-gay’ Republican lawmaker. They do not seem concerned that doing so means ‘someone’s life might be terribly affected’ as Signorile stated above. He qualifies this in his article, by the way, by stating “That’s far different from a politician or another public figure with enormous power who is closeted and is doing something harmful to queer people.”
But is it really? Olympic athletes are public figures. He goes on to say “...whose personal details are reported on every day because of the choice that person made to go into public life.” These athletes are no more or less public than any other athlete and they certainly strive to have a public image. They are also role models and the LGBT media have always advocated for closeted gay celebrities to come out.
Mike Signorile is credited with pioneering ‘outing’ in the most controversial of ways. Referencing his 1993 book: Queer in America: Sex, the Media and the Closets of Power his wikipedia page states:
Signorile has argued in favor of outing from a journalistic perspective, calling for the “equalization” of reporting on gay and straight public figures. He has argued that the homosexuality of public figures―and only public figures―should be reported on when relevant.
If it were to be discovered that a closeted gay Olympic athlete also publicly opposed same sex marriage, do you imagine it would be viewed as controversial, dangerous or an invasion of privacy if outed via Grindr? Unlikely. And that is the core of the problem. I agree with Signorile that gay apps are the gay bars and bathhouses of our day. When you enter a bathhouse, which I have and enjoy, you expect a level of understanding from all the men you encounter. You do not expect to have a secret picture taken or an undercover spy reporting on your activities. In fact the understanding is so profound men can be completely relaxed and uninhibited which is rare in our culture.
When I use Grindr I assume the men I speak to have no ulterior motives and my conversations with them will remain confidential. They provide me the same trust. It usually works well. Although The Daily Beast did clarify that the assignment involved looking through many dating apps to see what the various athletes were up to, only Grindr provided any leads. The author was not intentionally seeking to expose gay athletes for any lurid purpose. He likely thought it perfectly innocent and interesting.
The primary issue is not with his actions, he did not actually provide identifying information for example, but the reaction it caused. These writers and reporters are not concerned with exposing gay men as a concept. They are selectively choosing to be outraged because it appears to both illustrate long-standing ideas of ‘slut-shaming’ and obsession with gay sex they interpret as homophobia and the athletes are an innocent well-liked group no one would oppose protecting. They can be the hero while being the victim at the same time.
In contrast, if the person being exposed happens to hold a character flaw, political opinion or represent a religious view they wish to oppose, their grand ideals of fighting the exploitation of gay sex lives disappears. A pastor in a gay bar or in a bathhouse is not questioned or exposed in those environments. He will likely be free to indulge his interests without harassment. It is the LGBT left that has made his choice to engage on social media hook up apps dangerous.
It is relevant to point out that the accused ‘anti-gay’ right has no interest in entrapping or exposing men with same-sex attractions despite their otherwise opposition to homosexuality as a concept or their public opposition to LGBT agenda items. Only the LGBT left finds vindictive joy in ruining these men’s lives as punishment for their political or religious choices.
It is the LGBT left’s view that a pastor that teaches established Christian positions on homosexuality but secretly indulges his own, often struggling, temporary desires must be made a public spectacle to warn others. It is the LGBT left that searches for Grindr profiles among RNC delegates hoping to embarrass a gay man or two in order to punish them for even attending, again as a warning.
If you are a homosexual man found guilty of heresy you deserve to have your private life exposed and mocked.
Those who celebrate sexual freedom and honor the understood code of trust among men who have sex with men in environments that allow true inhibition and individual expression should loudly oppose all attempts to exploit this trust for the benefit of a political agenda. Mike Signorile should be chastising the attempts to out pastors or Republicans as inherently dangerous to all gay men. He should be loudly speaking out against weaponizing sexuality in order to sacrifice lives for ‘the greater good’ of political narrative. He should be above the petty vengeance and vindictiveness associated with punishing men who are sexually active but deemed ‘anti-gay’ and given no opportunity to defend themselves.
To argue that people who ‘hurt queers’ or even commit the slightest of sins such as not supporting LGBT lawmaking demands deserve their most private interactions exposed and mocked is true bullying and silencing. Under the guise of ‘justice’ they merely enact cruelty they would absolutely declare personal violent victimhood if inflicted upon them.
Ironically as Mr. Signorile and others have determined the true culprit as an ongoing fascination with gay sex in a ‘freak show’ manner, their own actions demonstrate an underlying belief that homosexual behavior is something that can be used against another person. By waving the half-naked pictures and sexually explicit conversations of their victims around while loudly laughing and encouraging shame, they are implicitly declaring that homosexual interest and sex is somehow shameful and something one should hide. Otherwise why would they find joy in exposing it?
But Mr. Signorile is not interested in the consequences of his own hypocrisy. As he laments:
There’ still a “both sides” mentality in much of the media, for example, in which anti-LGBT bigots are brought onto talk shows as if their hatred needs to offset the call for equality for the sake of “balance.”
As far as he and the rest of the LGBT media are concerned, certain gay men deserve protection and defense and others deserve their lives publicly exposed, mocked and ruined. Dependent, of course, on the judgement imposed onto them by the court of LGBT authority.
For the LGBT left, your dignity, freedom and equality as a gay person is only valid as long as you never step out of line. For the rest of us, it is not the right that endangers us but the LGBT left that threatens the very nature of the sexual freedom they claim to have fought so hard for, for all these years.