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It is also an integral component of gay experience and identity, whose implications for attitudes toward sexuality and society have made it an increasingly popular subject of academic study.Joel Simkhai, the man behind Grindr, was born in Tel Aviv, the middle son of a diamond-dealer father and jewelry-seller mother, and he speaks fluent Hebrew with a heavy American accent.
“I never thought it would turn into something global, and I never thought of it as a way to make a living.It was just that as a gay man, you always want to know who else around you is gay,” he says.Simkhai’s family moved from Israel to New York when he was three years old.Earlier this month he was back for a visit, for Tel Aviv Pride Week and a cousin’s wedding.He says that as a child he was “slightly femme, not athletic. We were also an immigrant family, and I didn’t really fit in. I went out with girls, I had girlfriends, that helped.It’s not that I was lying to myself — my coming out of the closet was a process.” In college, Simkhai majored in economics and international relations and, he says, “I slept with a man for the first time, someone I met when I went to a different college for summer session.
I was 18, and to get rid of the thoughts I had on the subject, I decided to try it once.
In the end it turned out differently, of course.” His father “easily accepted” the news that his son was gay.
Grindr, a location-based dating networking application for men, celebrated its fifth anniversary this spring with a colorful party in Los Angeles.
While on Google Play and the Apple App Store, Grindr is described as a social network for chatting, socializing and meeting gay, bi- and -curious guys, it’s best known as a shameless hookup app.
But 10 million downloads and a growing number of mentions in the press, in films and on television show that its importance is much greater than the sum of hookups it has facilitated.
Grindr is today not only a thriving business, carried along on the buff shoulders of millions of gay men.