BIG GAY DATA
data can't stay in the closet forever
Every online interaction — be it a click, swipe, like, or share — produces a data point. From our social media activity to our dating app preferences, all these data points can be collated to create a digital shadow of ourselves that likely outs us as gay. Consider, for example, the many articles about the TikTok algorithm knowing someone was queer, bi, or lesbian before they even did. Their use of the app — the way that person lingered on or swiped past a video — gives enough data points to TikTok that collectively screams: faggot over here! It’s interesting that I couldn’t find any articles about TikTok knowing men are gay, but I guess you can just look at their Twitter likes and/or follows for that … just don’t look at mine.
However, not everyone’s wolves — their digital shadow and their IRL self — are so clearly aligned.
Gov. McNally has no intention of stopping
Twitter was alive with the sound of roasting Republican Governor Randy McNally a few weeks ago after the Tennessee Holler shared screenshots of the governor commenting on the thirst traps of a young Franklyn McClure. A swift response from McNally’s office insisted that:
[Governor McNally] takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.
Now, I want to make very clear that here at Queer Computer HQ we believe that this is king shit behaviour from Randy and emphasise that it is every 79 year-old married man’s god-given right to show his appreciation for 20 year-old Franklyn McClure, whether that man be from Nashville, Tennessee to Canberra, Australia. However! If that man has a history of voting in favour of criminalising drag performances and eliminating gender-affirming health care for trans kids, as Randy does, then he may no longer comment on Mr McClure’s thirst traps with: “You need to be on dancing with the stars”, “Hi sunshine!”, “Super look Finn”, “Love it 💕”, and “👏”.
Honestly, I implore you to watch this incredibly awkward interview of Randy being grilled on television about his “social media interactions”. It’s almost painful to watch McNally try to justify his comments, it’d be better if he just admitted that he was horny af and dtf.
A vote of confidence was held amongst his Republican colleagues on Monday 20th March, with 19 to 7 voting in favour of McNally keeping his position.
That awkward moment when the priest sends you a ‘🔥’ emoji in the middle of a sermon
The Washington Post recently reported that a group of Catholic philanthropists have been funding the purchase of mobile app tracking data, in order to catch priests engaging in devilish gay behaviour. The nonprofit, Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal, obtained location data for apps including Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, and Jack'd.
This data was bought through data brokers — companies that collect, analyse, and sell personal information to third-party entities. The collection and use of this data is largely unregulated in the US where there are no data privacy laws prohibiting its sale, and in Australia where it is kind of illegal but not really, so it happens anyways.
Although the data obtained does not contain any names, sufficient identifying information is available — location, device ID, type of device, and internet service provider — allowing the group to easily cross-reference this data with the locations of their church residences and therefore, identify priests using Grindr and also track their device to known gay locales. This information is then collated into reports and sent to bishops around the country to do with as they will.
The group's efforts paid off when they outed priest Jeffrey Burrill in 2021, who had to resign after it was revealed he had been using Grindr, attended a gay bar and a gay bathhouse. Yess Jeffrey, get it! It’s unclear how many more priests have been pushed to resign or were terminated because of this information, but an insider had told the Post that some priests may have been kept from promotions or given early retirement as a result. More time to cruise, if you ask me.
Outing conservatives: is it worth the hype?
Now, as regular Queer Computer readers would know, I don’t particularly care for conservative politicians and Catholic priests. But the other day my interest was piqued when I read this tweet by known-gay and author, Dan Savage, where, in response to the gay priests article, he calls for queer activists to out closeted Republicans — like Gov. McNally — in the same way the Catholics had done to their priests.
In a follow-up comment he wrote:
Outing is a brutal tactic that should be reserved for brutes. These are brutal times and these motherfuckers are brutalizing us.
These brutal times call for brutal measures, says Dan … and what is more brutal than weeding out the secret gays from the conservative party. Wait, something about this logic is actually causing me a headache … you want to forcibly out gay Republicans … as pay back? Revenge!? Would we not be doing the party a favour by outing gay Republicans within their midst? You wanna do the Lavender Scare, again? It’s not like Gov. McNally was voted out after his thirsty comments went public, and if he was, there’s a line of straight “brutes” ready to take his place. If anything, outing Republicans would just embolden the party to be straighter and stronger than ever. Uber-straight Republicans — god help us all.
Instead of outing as some form of “brutal tactic”, I call on all queers to strike from giving Republicans any form of sexual gratification. Create a picket line at the bathhouse, block them from viewing your Instagram, your XXX Twitter page, your Onlyfans! Next time Randy comments “Super look Finn” on your thirst trap, reply with “Fuck off Randy”. Together, we can edge Republicans to vote with their butts instead of their party.
As anti-trans laws sweep across the US and the discourse lands in Australia, I think about how our digital shadow continues to grow in ways we could have never imagined. With every click, swipe, like, and share, our shadow grows larger, more comprehensive, it overshadows us as we feed it. Think about our messages sent, Google searches, websites visited, email receipts, the apps on your phone, your Snapchat location, and so much more. These data points can out us in ways we don’t even know yet. We’ve seen how easy it is for the Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal to buy location data and sift through the millions of datapoints of people using Grindr to find just one priest — a doodle in a haystack. Now, I think about how easily our big gay data could be used against us.
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