Grindr kicks of Kindr campaign

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Grindr wants to take a step to combat racist and shaming language on user profiles. RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant The Vixen, former Queer Eye host Jai Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Malcolm Robinson, Rakeem Cunningham, Ray (Emilio Amador), and Jasmine are featured in the “kindr” campaign from Grindr against sexual racism, speaking about their experiences of racism on- and offline.

“If you don’t put ‘no Asians’ in your profile, it doesn’t mean you have to f**k Asians now,” says Booster. “It just means I don’t have to see it….For you to say ‘I know what every Asian guy looks like and I know for a fact that I would not be attracted to any of them?’ That comes from a racist place. Because you don’t know what we all look like. That’s ugly.”

“You don’t know what the person on the other side of the phone is going through,” adds Rodriguez. “You have no idea what their experience is, or what else they have going on, or what that comment might do to them.”

Grindr, also released a statement further elaborating on the Kindr initiative:

Sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming and further forms of othering such as stigmatization of HIV positive individuals are pervasive problems in the LGBTQ community. These community issues get brought onto our platform, and as a leader in the gay dating space, Grindr has a responsibility to not only protect our users, but also to set the standard for the broader community that we serve.

Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks. Our ‘Kindr’ initiative is a rallying call for Grindr and our community to take a stand against sexual racism and all forms of othering.

Grindr can tell anyone your exact location to room-level accuracy

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The developers of gay hook-up app Grindr have always claimed that the geo-locating functionality is vague enough to be convenient rather than unnerving. That may be true of the app itself, but the data it provides third parties can be easily exploited, according to an investigation by Queer Europe.

The site found that using a third-party app – the unimaginatively named “Fuckr” – users can uncover up to 600 Grindr users within minutes. That may sound similar to the main app, except that Fuckr deobfuscates the location, bringing it to an accuracy of 2 to 5 meters (6 to 16 feet). Given the app can also leach the photo, this is an early Christmas present to stalkers, opening to the potential to tie down users to a single room of a house.

It works through trilateration. In-app, Grindr will tell you that someone is “X feet away”, but by creating virtual accounts around the target, and then moving them closer and further away, a third-party app is able to get a more exact figure from the original data. Because Fuckr has access to Grindr’s private database, this is just scratching the surface of the information it can draw out: body type, ethnicity, HIV status, last HIV test date and the kind of sensitive sexual information you’d be unlikely to garner from a LinkedIn leak.

But it’s not just the stalking concerns which are a real problem here. Although Grindr has disabled location tracking in countries where gay men face persecution like Russia, Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, there are plenty of nations where it’s still enabled. In other words, gay men and trans people with Grindr accounts in Qatar, Turkey, Algeria, Abu Dhabi and the United States could be pinpointed by those looking to harass, arrest or much worse..

GitHub, which hosted the app’s repository, has disabled public access to Fuckr, but that doesn’t stop the main issue: the API is alarmingly open to abuse, and a private API in the wrong hands ceases to be private. For the time being, it’s best to disable location services for Grindr until the company gets its privacy house in order. Please stay safe.

Headspace

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For some not affected by it, it’s probably hard to visualise the type of discomfort and small acts of discrimination transgender people face on a daily basis.

Public bathrooms are an easy one to identify because of the months-long controversy surrounding them, but the potential danger also extends to places like locker rooms and doctors’ offices. In the short film Headspace, trans individuals think through day-to-day obstacles that can arise.

Boarding School

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When troubled 12-year-old Jacob Felsen is sent away to boarding school, he enters every kid’s worst nightmare: A creepy old mansion, deserted except for six other teenage misfits and two menacing and mysterious teachers. As events become increasingly horrific, Jacob must conquer his fears to find the strength to survive.

Horror films have begun a redefinition in recent years, a deeper representation of horrors of the world personified. Monsters have generated new fears in the silent haunting of A Quiet Place, while racism has found its own sadistic representation within a reinvigorated form of the body snatchers with last year’s Get Out. This year, re-innovation has found itself in Boarding School, a film by director Boaz Yakin that examines the ostracized differences perceived in others and in one’s own self.

Boarding School is not without its flaws, yet its meanings and representations dive deeper than the typical thrillers that have come before it. History is imbued between the lines of exposition and dialogue, discovering who we are and what will come to pass to become who we will be. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth Boarding School is able to achieve, as well as the entertainment it was able to maintain – placing itself within this new generation of horror.

Read on…

Troye about Conversion Therapy

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Learning about the harmful messages of conversion therapy for the film Boy Erased led gay musician and actor Troye Sivan to imagine the effect on vulnerable young people, he said Thursday night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

“When we arrived on set day one, they gave us the resources kids would typically get when they arrived at the [conversion therapy] camp, like actual printed-out resources,” Sivan told Colbert. These packets outlined the strict rules queer kids are given at the camps, including limited body contact as well as a mandatory dress code that required girls to carry purses and wear skirts while forbidding boys to wear tight-fitting clothes.

“I remember being so relieved when I came out to myself because I was like, OK, this is not something that I can change. It’s not something that I have to fight anymore,” Sivan said. This added a weight to learning that youth in “ex-gay” camps are told, “No, this is not you, you weren’t born like this. This is a God-shaped hole you are trying to fill with these homosexual tendencies,” he explained.

Filming Boy Erased caused the singer to imagine “being 15 again when I was sort of at my most vulnerable and having that put back on me, and being set up with that impossible task of trying to change this thing that is ultimately unchangeable.”

Sivan hopes parents see the film and learn that “your reaction to your kid coming out can really shape their lives.” Boy Erased will play at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday and open in U.S. theaters November 2.

Cartoons are queerer than ever

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While Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe gets plenty of credit for bringing queer issues to kids’ TV (rightfully so) thankfully, it’s not alone. In fact, the number of queer cartoons is rapidly increasing. And while not every show necessarily gets it right (looking at you, Voltron), at least there are many more other opportunities for young LGBTQ kids to see themselves on screen.

The past few years, there have been many queer cartoons — or at least queer cartoon characters. There was the first same-sex kiss in a kids’ cartoon in Disney’s Star vs. the Forces of Evil, gay parents have appeared in Cartoon Network‘s Clarence and Nickelodeon’s The Loud House and there was a relationship between two Adventure Time characters being build up over ten seasons.

Of course, the one doing the most for queer representation in animation is Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe. Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Fallssaid Sugar is “driving a race car way, way ahead of everyone else,” when it comes to representation. “Every time a creator or a network decides to try to go a little further and do something maybe other networks have been scared to do, suddenly we’ve opened up that space.”

Hirsch’s Gravity Falls has had its own issues with trying to insert representation. In a 2014 episode, “The Love God,” about Cupid making people fall in love, originally was to feature a couple of old women in love. The women were depicted as background characters in the storyboards — basically, a blink-and-you-miss it situation.

But Disney’s standards and practices department objected. Hirsch says, “The truth is they’re scared of getting emails from bigots and they’re cowards. So they’re letting the bigots control the conversation. My response was basically, ‘Let ‘em complain,’ ‘they’re wrong,’ and ‘they’re just gonna have to live with it.’ Unfortunately, it got so contentious that [the network] essentially told me that if I didn’t cut the scene they would cut the episode and they strong-armed me out of it.” Thankfully, in the season finale, Hirsch was allowed to have two other characters, Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland, come out as lovers.

Even Rebecca Sugar had problems initially; she said Cartoon Network came to her with notes, but she held her ground. Sugar said, “If this is going to cost me my show that’s fine because this is a huge injustice and I need to be able to represent myself and my team through this show and anything less would be unfair to my audience.”

On July 4, Steven Universe aired the first same-sex wedding, featuring a full on-the-mouth kiss. And as a added twist of the knife to the international markets where queer issues are censored, she put the more traditionally feminine character Sapphire in a suit, and the more masculine Ruby in a dress. (In these homophobic countries, Ruby is often dubbed with a male voice actor, to avoid having Ruby and Sapphire be a same-sex couple.)

Though we’ve come far with queer cartoons, as we’ve discovered with Voltron, there’s a long way to come. Even though Voltron engaged in the “bury your gays” trope and the queer representation was shown in only two scenes, Netflix promoted the show with lots of rainbows — trying to take advantage of the trend for LGBTQ representation while botching it just the same.

Sipping

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Santiago and Jared , two teenagers of opposite personality spend an afternoon together looking for ways to overcome their differences. After an act that begins as a game their senses will find the space to coincide. Click the subtitles button in the bottom left corner of the player if the subs don’t appear automatically.