This is what my Grindr profile says.
I could have channeled more of my inner femme shark and have said that white masculine men bore me to tears with their obsession with cishetero patriarchy.
But I didn’t.
I’m nice like that.
Unfortunately, not everyone is quite as nice as I am.
In the month that I’ve had my profile explicitly excluding masculine-identified men from contacting me, the number of random messages has decreased significantly, as well as responses to messages I have sent.
This is not to say I received many to begin with. After all, I’m not white, and therefore to many I am not terribly attractive. Additionally, I don’t have a six pack to flaunt, or a chest to bounce quarters off of. Most importantly, I’m not looking for sex.
However, being visible as “femme4femme” has brought me an unexpected form of attention. This last month, my audacious exclusion of masculine men has triggered a backlash by a few of Grindr’s more vocal members.
I have been accused of making the gay community look bad. I have been told that I need to be a real man. I have been told that I need a real man to “pound me like the bitch [I am].” In short, they all seem to have a solution to the “problem” of being femme4femme.
I’ve also noticed something interesting in terms of the type of comments I receive. White masculine men have been the most aggressive in their statements. They are quickest to indict me as a stain on the gay quilt and the sole reason why gay men are stereotyped as effeminate. They have also been most likely to continue sending aggressive messages until I am able to block them (not using Grindr Xtra, I only have 10 daily blocks that I often use preemptively on profiles that say “masc4masc,” “straight acting,” “no femmes,” “no blacks,” etc.), one of them even calling me a tr***y spic when I refused to interact with him.
Men of color on the other hand, have been more inclined to send me messages of a sexual nature. Telling me how they know exactly what to do to my “boy pussy” and that I need a masculine men to fuck me because “two bottoms don’t make a top.” One of them sent me a picture of his dick saying “I know your ass is twitching to get on this”
I can’t really explain why the two different reactions. I do have a hunch though. I suspect masc men of color realize that we will inhabit shared spaces together. We will probably go to the same bars and possibly even have mutual friends.
White men on the other hand make no such assumption. Usually they run across my profile when I venture into the “white” parts of town or when they drive through my part of town. They know it is unlikely for them to share any friends with me. They know I will not share a space with them, or if I did they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between me and another Latino.
I have considered erasing my Grindr account. And in the future I very well may. The only thing holding me back is that I have met some amazing guys on Grindr and have “surprisingly” had deep conversations around race/sexuality/gender on a platform notorious for its vapidness.
That, I feel is revolutionary. Taking back a space that reeks of racism, transphobia and internalized homophobia. If that’s the case, I’m living by Sylvia Rivera’s words.
“I’m not missing a minute of this, it’s the revolution!”
Danny Olvera is editor-in-chief of xQsí Magazine, an online LGBTQ Latin@ publication.