Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
Over 250,000 Grindr users worldwide have helped raise the profile of a range of equality issues, from human rights to sexual health, last year.
According to the organisation, the Grindr for Equality campaign, which is entering its fourth year, held 19 initiatives, with people tapping on in-app messages to sign petitions, donate money and participate in other specific calls to action last year.
‘Gay men abroad dealt with a lot of anti-gay legislation and violence in 2014, and we wanted to make it known that their plight is our fight too,’ said Joel Simkhai, Founder and CEO of Grindr. ‘A lot of our initiatives last year focused on helping LGBT individuals escape from homophobic perils that exist within their countries, including places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan. We wanted to let them know that they’re not alone, and give them the information and support they need to get out if they wanted.’
As part of the Get Out Safely campaign, Grindr for Equality worked with the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) International, the leading advocate for refugees escaping oppression due to sexual orientation or gender identity. When Grindr for Equality made its users aware of the campaign, the organisation saw a huge increase in donations, which went to help build runaway safe houses for the LGBT community worldwide. Along with the donations, Grindr for Equality also directed users to ORAM’s step-by-step guide, which provides information to consider if the user wanted to leave their country to escape persecution. When the message was distributed in countries like Egypt, Russia and Uganda, more than 7,000 users clicked on the link to seek help.
In addition to fundraising and creating awareness overseas, there was also a focus on STD prevention and education. In a first-of-its-kind summit, seven gay dating sites and apps joined forces with public health leaders to discuss steps to promote HIV/STD testing and reduce the stigma associated with HIV infection.
Other initiatives included calling Indiana representatives regarding the marriage equality legislation appeal; protesting Uganda’s President and his homophobic initiatives; increasing awareness for World Aids Day; and fundraising for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
‘Grindr for Equality is continuing our efforts to get the information out there and our users never cease to amaze me,’ continued Simkhai. ‘They donate, they sign petitions, they get tested and support the community – in short, they make a difference. With their help, we will continue to make progress on important gay issues and bring change all over the globe.’
The campaign continues to request submissions and information pertaining to the LGBT community where users live; individuals and like-minded groups are encouraged to send an email with basic contact information and a brief description of how the issue relates to the LGBT community, and how the campaign could provide assistance. Submissions can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for more information.
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