It is without question the best time in the United States’ history to be gay.
Thanks to the sacrifice and bravery of a generation of activists and radicals, we now enjoy rights and privileges that until recently would have sounded like scenes out of a utopian novel. With marriage equality in the rearview mirror, it’s only getting better.
Large (and ever-growing) chunks of straight society not only accept gay people, but sincerely welcome us. Plus, there’s an entire new generation is being taught that sexual orientation is no more shocking than being left handed.
So by the reflexive property of fabulousness, it is arguably the worst time in history to be closeted.
Not only do closet cases have to manage the immense psychological burden of suppressing their authentic selves, they have to stand witness to the miraculous changing social landscape and do their best not to participate.
And Grindr sure does make that more challenging for them. With a few taps and swipes, guys can access a network of gay men around them — imagine the temptation of that if you’ve built a life on the lie that you’re straight.
For these five guys, it was a lesson learned the hard way:
1. Rev. Matthew Makela
We’d be remiss not to start with Queerty’s big fish, the dishonorable reverend Matthew Makela.
Last month we broke the story that this Midland, Michigan, pastor was preaching an antigay, antitrans message during the day, and cruising for guys at night. He compared being gay to being an alcoholic, but told guys online that he was a top who likes to cuddle.
After the story broke, a mom and her teen son came forward to share what happened when the boy came out to Makela at 17 years old. The pastor told him the sin of homosexuality is no different than the sin of suicide.
We hope he’s changed his tune since then.
2. Rep. Randy Boehning
What’s worse than an antigay pastor on Grindr? An antigay lawmaker on Grindr.
Rep. Randy Boehning, a 52-year-old Republican legislator from Fargo, N.D. who has actively worked against extending equal rights, was outed after his Grindr profile surfaced.
21-year-old Dustin Smith of Bismarck, N.D., exposed the lawmaker after Boehning voted against Senate Bill 2279, which would have granted LGBT people legal protections against discrimination.
“How can you discriminate against the person you’re trying to pick up?” he said in an interview.
Boehning’s screen name? Top Man!
3. “Ex-Gay” Matt Moore
If someone is delusional enough to promulgate the horribly misinformed idea that one can will their sexual orientation to change, his story only holds its minute shred of merit if he sticks to the script.
And doesn’t, you know, chat guys up. How predicable.
When ex-gay activist Matt Moore was outed for cruising the little orange grid, he said: “I am wrong in having been on Grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the Bible, etc. Creating a Grindr profile and talking to guys on it was major disobedience on my part….disobedience to Christ.”
Good luck with that.
4. The Headless Torso
In the forums of parenting resource MumsNet, a different sort of Grindr user was being outed.
This loader of more guys chose to use a photo taken in the “ensuite bathroom” he shares with his wife. She was understandably shaken to discover her tile countertop (not to mention her husband’s headless torso) on display for the neighborhood gays to tap on. That profile advertising his lust for ass didn’t help the situation.
She confronted him, and he added lies on top of lies.
“Why could he not face up to his sexuality?” she asked later in the forum.
Come on, torso husband — time to tell the truth. You can be into guys, girls, both, neither — it’s all good.
5. Like father, like son
This one’s just awkward as hell.
As if being gay and in the throes of puberty weren’t difficult enough, a teenager claimed he found his homophobic dad on Grindr.
“Found out that my homophobe dad has Grindr on his iPhone when he asked me to go fetch it from the car. I am still closeted (denial/curious) so i know what Grindr is, even though I don’t have it myself. This makes it so much more confusing for me,” he wrote, seeking advice.
Many chimed in, including one who wisely warned, “A closeted married guy on Grindr might have some intense homophobia going on that he could take out on the queer kid in his care. Tread carefully.”