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The pro-Kremlin government in the long-contested region had begun rounding up and abusing dozens, if not hundreds, of alleged homosexual men. They involuntary outed many others to their families in a region where the sexual orientation is considered taboo.Grindr for Equality, the app’s advocacy arm, and the Russian LGBT Network, a St.The companies are activating their networks for political action, too.Earlier this year, Grindr users might remember seeing in-app notifications about targeted violence against gay men in Chechnya.They appear to be reconceptualizing spaces that have historically been bulwarks against anti-gay bigotry; spaces where one can, at least to a degree, enjoy being in public without mainstream judgment.

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.He might even recognize him from his profile photos walking down the street, or in the audience of, say, a recent panel about digital content by and for the queer community.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.What perhaps sets these new brands apart from their predecessors, then, is their push to expand the visibility of the queer community.For instance, one user might not know much about another offline, but he might know little things about him from having scrolled through his geotagged social media page.

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