Following reports that police in Egypt are using Grindr to lure and arrest queer men, the popular LGBTQ+ dating app has issued a country-wide announcement urging users to stay safe.
Accounts from LGBTQ+ Egyptians suggest that the police are seeking out their arrests by hiring informers to go undercover on dating apps including Grindr, Tinder and Bumble, to seduce queer people before unjustly arresting them.
According to PinkNews, “more than 150 people have been arrested with Egyptian police using entrapment schemes,” whether it be through dating apps or other social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook.
The outlet also reported an LGBTQ+ person from Port saying that they no longer feel safe walking on the streets and are searching for an escape from the country. “I don’t leave my house unless someone will take me with a car,” they said.
“I’m really worried that if I leave the house, I’m going to get slaughtered like a chicken.”
A spokesperson for Grindr stated: “Grindr is working with groups on the ground to make sure our users have up-to-date information on how to stay safe, and we are pushing international organisations and governments to demand justice and safety for the Egyptian LGBTQ community.”
To all my followers in Egypt, please be careful.
Police are actively arresting members of the LGBTQ community. Some are even pretending to be gay and will meet up with you to arrest and torture you.
Please retweet this to spread awareness and maybe help someone. pic.twitter.com/bPgfQmJgOE
— Pop Tingz (@ThePopTingz) March 22, 2023
However, Human Rights Watch has also spoken out about the actions of authorities in Egypt, saying that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Grindr are not doing enough to help keep LGBTQ+ people safe.
“Online abuses against LGBT people have offline consequences that reverberate throughout their lives and can be detrimental to their livelihood, mental health and safety,” Rasha Younes, a Senior Researcher for LGBT Rights at Human Rights Watch, said.
Younes added that while these platforms provide a space for queer expression, they have also been used to oppress and persecute the community.
Elsewhere this week, and in addition to issuing the alert in Egypt, Grindr has launched a new public health initiative in the United States, where users can now avail of free at-home HIV tests. The app explained that access to HIV testing is “one of the biggest limitations in the fight against the persistent HIV epidemic”, and that “HIV continues to affect the gay, bi, and trans community more than many other groups.”
launching today: free HIV home test kits to all Grindr users in the US* ❤️ we're proud to partner with @BHOCPartners and @cdc_HIV in this huge step toward increasing access to testing in the fight against the HIV epidemic ? #StopHIVTogether pic.twitter.com/A4cNbkTVBV
— Grindr (@Grindr) March 21, 2023
The at-home test is available to order from the app’s main menu for US-based users under the ‘Free HIV Home Test’ button. Once ordered, an OraQuick kit will be delivered to the user’s home. The test works by swabbing the gums and takes around 20 minutes to deliver the results.
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