So you might’ve heard that a website just ran an article from the Rio Olympics where a straight reporter went on Grindr under the pretense of arranging dates, then wrote about the gay athletes he found with identifying details. His conclusion: gay athletes are using Grindr to have sex at the Olympics.
If you’re like me, your first reaction to that news was “and?” This may come as a shock, but when we’re not busy being sassy friends, gay people do have sex with each other. It happens every day. In every city. I just put a pin down in the Grand Canyon and got photos of guys standing there on the canyon floor. Are they planning to host?
So, yeah, of course gay people are hooking up in Rio. But what’s different about those hookups is that at the Olympics, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll encounter people who are closeted for their own safety. Some of these athletes are from countries where you can be arrested or killed for being gay. It’s one thing to out a politician who actively harms LGBTs. But it’s another to out a volleyball player who could be thrown in jail for asking someone out for a drink.
Because these apps are so gay, they may feel like a safe place to let your guard down and trust people with your personal information, but they’re not.
Remember, there are people out to do harm to LGBT folks. This article’s a reminder that anyone could be looking at you online. Because these apps are so gay, they may feel like a safe place to let your guard down and trust people with your personal information, but they’re not. Not everyone is who they say they are, and not everyone is going to honor your privacy.
There are still places where gay people are punished and persecuted under the law. Even here in the U.S., there 28 states where you can be fired if someone even thinks you might be LGBT.
This article could have been about how gay athletes from all over the world may be isolated and face consequences for being out at home, but are able to connect with each other at the Olympic Village. And to talk about the difficulties they’ll face when they return to their countries.
But instead we just got some lurid clickbait. That’s a bummer, because it could have been an opportunity to do some good by talking about the changes we need to see around the world. And maybe it can still do some good, since we’re talking about that now.