This isn’t to suggest that having an out presence in public spaces is the only thing that matters for strengthening the community, especially when vulnerability often attends visibility.
He might even recognize him from his profile photos walking down the street, or in the audience of, say, a recent panel about digital content by and for the queer community.
Far from keeping queer men on the fringes, these apps are fueling a novel knowingness among users—on the app, yes, but also offline, when users go out to create and engage with open communities.
The company also participated in a University of California, Los Angeles, study that showed using the app to push banner ads and notifications for free HIV home test kits was an effective way to reach high-risk populations.
It’s a fitting role for apps whose original purpose unquestionably (and unavoidably, given that stigma still forces many men into silence about their health status) contributes to sexually transmitted disease transmission.
With open events and publications, these companies get to put their brands on a wider variety of gay connections.