By Stephan Horbelt
America in the "Age of Trump" has proved to be difficult for LGBTQ people. Many members of the queer community feel both the federal government and society at large has become hostile and divisive, and the headlines of mainstream media don't tell them any different. And now we have empirical evidence that things are difficult: In a survey conducted alongside GLAAD, Hornet has found that nearly three-fourths of gay and bisexual men believe post-Trump bullying and harassment has increased.
The last few weeks alone have offered all the anecdotal evidence we need about the queer community's positioning in society. Earlier this week it was uncovered that Trump joked that his Vice President Mike Pence wanted to "hang all gay people." (And Pence's notorious anti-gay history doesn't suggest otherwise.) Gay youth continue to be harassed and murdered in our streets. Also this week, homophobic fliers suggesting queer people commit suicide were posted on the Cleveland State University campus, the same day the school opened an LGBT center.
Hornet surveyed approximately 1,000 gay and bi men among its American user base and found:
• 72% of Hornet users agreed that LGBTQ bullying and harassment has increased since the 2016 Presidential election
• 66% of Hornet users report being bullied or harassed as a child or teen
• 68% have witnessed anti-LGBTQ speech or harassment on social media
• 67% frequently see anti-LGBTQ speech or overt harassment on social media
Results like those of our survey are an indication of why a day like today, #SpiritDay, is so important. Every year on the third Thursday in October, millions of people "go purple" to show solidarity against LGBTQ bullying. Begun seven years ago by high school student Brittany McMillan in response to a spike in queer suicides, #SpiritDay now sees celebrities, schools, national landmarks, corporations, media companies, sports leagues and more join together and play a role in standing against bullying.
“Hornet strives to provide a safe and welcoming environment for its worldwide membership,” says Hornet Co-Founder and President Sean Howell. “We recognize that online bullying and harassment remains a problem and we've have taken measures to ensure a different experience for our members. Our mission, and what we've always worked to create, is an online home for the gay community where members can make and cultivate meaningful relationships free of the harassment they may encounter elsewhere.”
Hornet will be sending a broadcast message to its users today encouraging them to wear purple. Our daily #HornetGuy will also feature #SpiritDay to show support for the anti-bullying initiative. Hornet’s mission is to provide a safe place where all gay men are welcomed into the diverse, global community, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, skin color, disability, gender identity, age or body type.
Also, check out two pieces of editorial devoted to expanding the reach of #SpiritDay, one entitled “On Spirit Day, Let’s Acknowledge That Bullying of LGBTs Often Comes From Within Our Community,” the other “Spirit Day Is About Speaking Out Against LGBTQ Bullying, and We All Have a Role to Play.”