How Grindr launched one of the best new magazines on the internet
One of the first video series Into launched was called “What the Flip,” which invited dissimilar Grindr users — young and old, muscular and chubby, white and Asian — to swap profiles, and experience the app from another’s perspective. The site explores how the gay community interacts with the trans community with posts like “14 messages trans people want you to stop sending on dating apps” and “Dear gay men, our trans advocacy sucks. We need to do better.” When Blake Shelton was named People’s sexiest man alive (*side eyes everything*), Into ran a rebuttal: “50 men of color who are sexier than Blake Shelton.” (The writer of the Blake Shelton post did receive some criticism for a lack of body diversity in his roundup. He later posted a Twitter thread about the importance of body positivity and visibility of people of all sizes.)
“I think about Solange all the time. You know, ‘Seat at the Table,’” Stafford says, expanding on that idea. “I think about who’s not at the table. We’ll look at the editorial calendar and think about all the identities missing.”
Queer women’s voices, for instance, are frequently left out of the larger LGBTQ conversation, and bringing Bendix onto the Into team as managing editor is a step toward addressing that.
“So many times, as a queer women in a larger LGBT space, the L, the T, the queer women are forgotten or as an afterthought,” explains Bendix. “I’m lucky enough to live in L.A. where there is an abundance of queer women spaces. But there are plenty of people and plenty of Into readers that we’re hoping to reach who might not have access to those places. And we can provide an online community. A place for them to go. A place for them to feel seen and heard.”
Bendix hopes that the inclusion of queer women will also change the LGBTQ community at large.
“One of the things I’m focusing on especially is not just feminism in terms of women at the site and Grindr, but I want our readers, even if they’re cis gay men, to be feminists. I want them to have those ideals. I want them to read stories about lesbian sex and understand the nuances of things and how it relates to our greater culture and community.”
From a business perspective, the strategy is working. Since it launched, the site has grown to an audience of 3.7 million monthly uniques and nine million page views, according to a representative.
More importantly, though, there’s evidence the reporting is making an impact.
When LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Rayna Russom came out as transgender in August, she did so in Into. In September, Into reported that a town in Tennessee was one vote away from banning drag shows, which Stafford says helped stop the ban.