Will “Grindr For Equality” Attack International LGBT Issues Effectively?

Perhaps in response to a wee little inquiry from the federal government in:re its lackadaisical security, Grindr has launched is heavily promoting its positive-publicity campaign called “Grindr for Equality.”

[Correction: Grindr for Equality launched in August 2010. The original version of this article claimed it had just launched.]

On their website, they outline the following goals:

Grindr has a greater capacity to provide assistance within the GLBT community and harnessing the power of our global user base is where the idea for Grindr for Equality was born. The ability to contact people in specific geographic areas en masse aided us in swaying voters in California and enabled users to contact their representatives in New York to vote in favor of the marriage equality bill. There is strength in numbers and this initiative will enable our users to use our platform for the greater good of our community.

The goal of Grindr for Equality is to raise awareness for GLBT issues and spur action across the globe.

While these goals are certainly laudable, the actual implementation will be a little trickier. It seems all you have to do is send an email to [email protected] with your location and your cause, and, once deemed charity-worthy, your message will soon be popping up within a certain geographical area when people log in to the app.

So Grindr is essentially offering you free advertising—usually those spots are negotiated for some money with advertisers who might be running a happy-hour promotion in the area. Generally, users tend to dislike these (pre-hookup) pop-up notifications.

Where Twitter and Facebook have played major roles in spurring revolutions in Northern Africa and the Middle East, perhaps Grindr can be our smaller analogue in places that need more activism, like Russia, which just passed a ban on the “promotion of homosexuality” in St. Petersburg.

But that could provide its own problems: if you’re caught with Grindr on your iPhone in St. Petersburg, is that public enough to promote homosexuality and get you fined? And, if you’re looking to go incognito in the more homophobic parts of Africa, showing up to the rally Grindr told you to go to could implicate Grindr in the deaths of activists.

Photos via Grindr

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