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With open events and publications, these companies get to put their brands on a wider variety of gay connections.And, in doing so, the likes of Grindr, Hornet, and Scruff are re-creating queer sociability in significant ways.

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The companies are activating their networks for political action, too.

Earlier this year, Grindr users might remember seeing in-app notifications about targeted violence against gay men in Chechnya.

And it’s putting out more than just fluff by featuring topics such as the one-year remembrance of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the “resist march” at Los Angeles Pride, Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister, and the record levels of violence against LGBTQ people in 2016.

Grindr isn’t the only gay app getting in on the rebranding game.

CEO Joel Simkhai told in a recent interview that “millions of Grindr users [were] asking us to figure out what’s going on around them,” so the company decided to start curating culture-minded content.

While it’s still early days, the publication seems to represent an earnest effort to re-envision the Grindr brand. It’s published a buffet of articles, photography, and videos that cater to a variety of identities and interests.

And that seems about right: I can’t even count how many gay friends I have for whom popping open Grindr is as rote of a smartphone task as scanning their email-clogged inboxes.

Grindr, for instance, seems to be looking to shed its scurrilous image as “just a hookup app.” In March, the company that pioneered the geolocation-based, casual sex–facilitating sensation launched the online magazine Into.

What perhaps sets these new brands apart from their predecessors, then, is their push to expand the visibility of the queer community.

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