In 2015, it conducted a survey with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Centers for Disease Control to gauge its users’ awareness of Pr EP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a daily regimen that can protect users from contracting HIV.
The company also participated in a University of California, Los Angeles, study that showed using the app to push banner ads and notifications for free HIV home test kits was an effective way to reach high-risk populations.
Far from keeping queer men on the fringes, these apps are fueling a novel knowingness among users—on the app, yes, but also offline, when users go out to create and engage with open communities.
These apps are playing host to conversations—silent and verbal, private and public—about what, exactly, the queer experience can entail.
Just this month, it put together a group of LGBTQ media gurus in New York for Loud & Proud, a sold-out panel discussion that centered around the importance of inclusion in a diversifying media world. Lots of queer men power up their gay app of choice when they go out or arrive in a new city in hopes of finding people who might be navigating similar life experiences.
With open events and publications, these companies get to put their brands on a wider variety of gay connections.
From Grindr to Scruff, Hornet to Jack’d, the digital platforms are best known for dredging up flakey users, svelte-only fat-shamers, masc-4-masc femme-phobes, and it’s-a-personal-preference racists.
From the French Alps to New Delhi, it’s encouraging revelers to use gayness as an entry point through which they can traipse to faraway places.
The gay social-networking app Hornet, too, has been hosting live events.
And, in doing so, the likes of Grindr, Hornet, and Scruff are re-creating queer sociability in significant ways.
These apps, on the one hand, still allow queer men the messiness of exploring our identities.