The Sobering Facts of LGBTQ+ Hookup Violence
I have been an avid user of Grindr, the gay, bi and trans masculine social-networking app, since my 18th birthday. For a closeted kid in Moore, Oklahoma, the only exploration that I could partake in was logging into this app. It was filled with dick pics, among other unsolicited nudes, and a whole new language that I was completely oblivious to. I got trapped in a wormhole of hookup culture that I was not prepared to engage in.
Hookup culture accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters without emotional bonding or commitment and evolves depending upon what identities one might hold. Statistically speaking, gay men participate in American hookup culture more than any other identity, outside of college students (but there, too, gay college men tend to have more sexual partners than any other demographic). Overly sexual TV series such as Queer as Folk and The L Word verged toward stereotypes in their portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community, but they also painted a sobering picture of our connection to casual sex.
Do not get me wrong – casual sex has become the norm in society at large. Bar culture and club culture provide examples that contribute to young adults’ sexual encounters. Researchers may be more focused on the issue now because of the attention paid to sexually transmitted diseases/infections and sexual assault.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) puts together an annual summary of LGBTQ hate violence homicides. The 2017 report, titled “A Crisis of Hate,” included 52 hate violence homicides of LGBTQ people, which was an 86 percent increase in single incident reports from 2016.
The report said: “In 2017, 45 percent of the homicides of queer, bi, or gay cisgender men were related to hookup violence, and most of these were related to hooking up online or through personal ads.”
This includes gay social networks that we know are for no-strings-attached sexual encounters, such as Grindr, Hornet, Scruff and Jack’d, where queer cisgender men can be targeted, identified and harmed. Our community further perpetrates complacency in these instances due to the stigma, shame, and societal pressure in hookup homicides where both individuals involved are queer, bi, or gay men.
As a community, we cannot be complacent any longer about the way queer hookup culture is breeding violence. Sexual violence and domestic violence are steadily growing within the LGBTQ+ community, and we must do something about it before more victims are harmed.
Organizations such as the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, a queer advocacy agency, offer services and support groups to those who have experienced any kind of violence due to their sexual and/or gender identity, including sexual violence and domestic violence. They also provide training that further explains the ways in which you and/or your organization can be less complacent in situations of violence.
Together, as a community, we can stop hookup violence and the violence at large against the LGBTQ+ community, one real conversation at a time. Let’s end violence together, today.