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Survey finding 45 percent of gay men back Trump is ‘clickbaity, sloppy journalism’

Hornet app finds 45 percent of LGBTQ men back Trump



A flawed Hornet app study found 45 percent of gay men back Trump. (Screen capture via YouTube)

A survey finding 45 percent of gay-identified men are planning to vote for President Trump in the 2020 election, published this week by the gay dating app Hornet, sparked interest on social media and Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, but falls short of providing an accurate picture of the LGBTQ electorate, experts in online polling told the Washington Blade.

Jason Turcotte, an associate professor of communication at Cal Poly Pomona, said via email the survey produced “an interesting finding,” but at the same time is “unlikely to be representative of the broader LGBTQ community.”

“To hold up this poll as evidence that the LGBTQ community is somewhat split on its support for the presidential candidates is like someone saying the users of Farmers Only represent the ideological spectrum of all farmers or that Christian Mingle users represent the ideological spectrum of all Christians,” Turcotte said. “To tout a Hornet poll as evidence of LGBTQ support for Trump is clickbaity, sloppy journalism.”

According to results of the survey, made public Tuesday and highlighted in a Newsweek story, American users of the gay media app Hornet — which allows users to “sting” potential matches to signal interest in engagement — were split in the candidates they’re backing in the 2020 election.

Of the 1,200 American men surveyed in a sample of 10,000 Hornet users worldwide, 51 percent pledged support for Joe Biden in the upcoming election, while 45 percent acknowledged they are gay men for Trump, according to a Hornet blog post. Hornet doesn’t offer demographic information on the men.

Based on the larger sample of 10,000 Hornet users worldwide, support for Trump among gay people is lower: Only 34 percent of gay men support Donald Trump, while 66 percent support Democratic nominee Biden.

Despite questions surrounding the survey, the results were cited on social media as evidence the LGBTQ community is veering away from its long support of the Democratic Party by backing Trump. The Log Cabin Republicans media project Outspoken tweeted out the survey Tuesday, as did Brandon Straka, who’s gay and a founder of the Walk Away movement.

The survey was also the subject of a Fox News segment Wednesday night, when host Tucker Carlson featured the Hornet results — as well as polls showing Trump is doing well with Latinos. As an expert to discuss the results, Carlson brought on Washington Examiner columnist Eddie Scarry, author of “Privileged Victims” and a gay conservative.

“If we’re just talking about gays, we’re looking at cities run by Democrats, liberal states, Democratic mayors, Democratic governors, and we’re seeing them go up in flames,” Scarry said. “Gay people are kind of inherently afraid of violence for reasons that should be obvious, so I think seeing that has scared a lot of people looking for someone to — they’re looking for protection from somebody. We’ve seen Joe Biden for the last two or three months kind of excuse if not outright encourage what’s been going on.”

Scarry went on to say the surprising number of American male Hornet users who back Trump is consistent with a new wave of gay staffers who work for Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill coming out.

“The staff is very gay on both sides, but the Republican staff is actually gayer than the Democratic side,” Scarry said. “And the thing is, the Republican side, they’re very, very discreet about the fact they’re Republicans. So you have these Republicans who finally are coming out and saying, ‘You know what? I’m tired of this. I’m tired of seeing what’s going on around the country. And you know what? Trump is the one who at least says, “We’ve had enough of this, too.”’”

But those conclusions weren’t the same reached by the experts, who took issue with the vagaries of the Hornet survey, including lack of information on certain demographics, such as age and region.

Turcotte said that demographic information would be crucial in ascertaining the accuracy of the Hornet survey results, as well as fine-tuning the results among different categories of men.

“Depending on where Hornet users reside, the results could be quite skewed,” Turcotte said. “The app could also be less popular among younger voters, which tend to lean liberal. It’s impossible to evaluate the credibility of a poll that lacks transparency about its sample size and methodology.”

Turcotte also took issue with the Hornet survey allowing respondents to answer anonymously, which he said could lead to false results.

“The anonymity factor of apps also threatens the credibility of such a poll,” Turcotte said. “Users of apps can misrepresent their age or identities. Apps that allow for a cloak of anonymity could appeal more to conservative-leaning users who prefer to occupy anonymous spaces because of work, home or community environments that are less accepting of the LGBTQ community.”

For its part, Hornet is pushing back against the media reporting of its survey as an accurate snapshot of gay people.

Stephan Horbelt, executive editor of Hornet, emphasized in response that the findings on gay men are based on a self-selecting, voluntary survey, as opposed to a scientific poll.

“Though I’m wholly unable to control how other outlets refer to it,” Horbelt said, “I’ve seen some pretty broad mischaracterizations of the data by other outlets on social media. Hornet is not Quinnipiac, nor has it ever ascribed that level of weight to our survey results.”

Horbelt said information on location, age, or race of respondents wasn’t gathered because the survey was voluntary, adding the higher than expected support for Trump “was quite the unfortunate surprise, and unsurprisingly that’s what has been turned into a story here.”

“As with any informal survey like this, the only thing that can truly be extrapolated from Hornet’s data is that 45 percent of those American gay men who took the survey expressed support for Donald Trump,” Horbelt said. “I’ve seen outlets attempt to extrapolate voter prediction on behalf of the greater LGBTQ community, which can’t and should not be done. (Ours was a poll of gay, bi and trans men, not the larger queer community.)”

Horbelt concluded the key takeaway from what Hornet found is “there are indeed gay men who unfortunately and ignorantly support Donald Trump, head of the most anti-LGBTQ administration in modern history, and it’s likely they do so at much higher rates than we previously believed. “

“Without acknowledging that fact, how can we course-correct? It’s clear that we — the larger LGBTQ community — have a lot of work to do,” Horbelt said.

Indeed, the Hornet survey results are inconsistent with other polls showing a greater percentage of LGBTQ people support Biden, including LGBTQ Republicans. According to a Morning Consult poll in June, almost a quarter of LGBTQ Republicans have a favorable opinion of Joe Biden and 12 percent said they’d vote for him. That’s five points more likely than straight Republican to say they’ll vote for Biden, and were eight points more likely to say they’ll vote for Trump.

Based on 2016 exit polls, LGBTQ people in a lop-sided manner backed Hillary Clinton over Trump. A total of 78 percent backed the Democratic candidate, compared to the 14 percent of the vote won by Trump. Trump got a lower percentage than either Mitt Romney, who 22 percent of the LGBTQ vote in 2012, or John McCain, who got 27 percent of the LGBTQ vote in 2008.

Brian Schaffner, a political scientist at Tufts University, cited numerous issues with the Hornet survey — including the fact it sampled only users of the Hornet app and didn’t appear to take into account some would be more likely to respond than others — but also said the results are inconsistent with his own findings.

“For context, in November 2019, the survey I co-direct (the Cooperative Congressional Election Study) asked about 2020 vote choice,” Schaffner said. “The survey is very large, so we actually had 1,074 LGBTQ men in our sample. Among that group, just 26 percent were planning on voting for Trump while 66 percent said they were going to vote for the Democratic nominee. That’s basically the exact same breakdown as we saw in 2016 (67 percent Clinton and 26 percent Trump). So I’d be shocked to find any significant change in support among that group now.”

All in all, the views of the LGBTQ community as a sexual minority making up an estimated 5 percent of the population would be difficult to ascertain — even for the most scientific of polls.

Turcotte, however, said the Hornet survey doesn’t come close to taking an accurate poll of the LGBTQ community by any means.

“Do I believe that voting habits of underrepresented groups are more nuanced than most voters and campaigns assume?” Turcotte said. “Absolutely. But do I think the Hornet poll accurately captures that nuance for the LGBTQ community? Absolutely not.”

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Bill to ban conversion therapy dies in Puerto Rico Senate committee

Advocacy group describes lawmakers as cowards



Puerto Rico Pulse nightclub victims, gay news, Washington Blade


A Puerto Rico Senate committee on Thursday killed a bill that would have banned so-called conversion therapy on the island.

Members of the Senate Community Initiatives, Mental Health and Addiction Committee voted against Senate Bill 184 by an 8-7 vote margin. Three senators abstained.

Amárilis Pagán Jiménez, a spokesperson for Comité Amplio para la Búsqueda de la Equidad, a coalition of Puerto Rican human rights groups, in a statement sharply criticized the senators who opposed the measure.

“If they publicly recognize that conversion therapies are abuse, if they even voted for a similar bill in the past, if the hearings clearly established that the bill was well-written and was supported by more than 78 professional and civil entities and that it did not interfere with freedom of religion or with the right of fathers and mothers to raise their children, voting against it is therefore one of two things: You are either a hopeless coward or you have the same homophobic and abusive mentality of the hate groups that oppose the bill,” said Pagán in a statement.

Thursday’s vote comes against the backdrop of continued anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence in Puerto Rico.

Six of the 44 transgender and gender non-conforming people who were reported murdered in the U.S. in 2020 were from Puerto Rico.

A state of emergency over gender-based violence that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declared earlier this year is LGBTQ-inclusive. Then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in 2019 signed an executive order that banned conversion therapy for minors in Puerto Rico.

“These therapies lack scientific basis,” he said. “They cause pain and unnecessary suffering.”

Rosselló issued the order less than two weeks after members of the New Progressive Party, a pro-statehood party  he chaired at the time, blocked a vote in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on a bill that would have banned conversion therapy for minors in the U.S. commonwealth. Seven out of the 11 New Progressive Party members who are on the Senate Community Initiatives, Mental Health and Addiction Committee voted against SB 184.

“It’s appalling. It’s shameful that the senators didn’t have the strength and the courage that our LGBTQ youth have, and it’s to be brave and to defend our dignity and our humanity as people who live on this island,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para [email protected], a Puerto Rican LGBTQ rights group, in a video. “It’s disgraceful that the senators decided to vote down this measure that would prevent child abuse.”

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Undocumented LGBTQ immigrants turn to Fla. group for support

Survivors Pathway is based in Miami



Survivors Pathway works with undocumented LGBTQ immigrants and other vulnerable groups in South Florida. (Photo courtesy of Francesco Duberli)


MIAMI – The CEO of an organization that provides support to undocumented LGBTQ immigrants says the Biden administration has given many of his clients a renewed sense of hope.

“People definitely feel much more relaxed,” Survivors Pathway CEO Francesco Duberli told the Washington Blade on March 5 during an interview at his Miami office. “There’s much hope. You can tell … the conversation’s shifted.”

Duberli — a gay man from Colombia who received asylum in the U.S. because of anti-gay persecution he suffered in his homeland — founded Survivors Pathway in 2011. The Miami-based organization currently has 23 employees.

Survivors Pathway CEO Francesco Duberli at his office in Miami on March 5, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

Duberli said upwards of 50 percent of Survivors Pathway’s clients are undocumented. Duberli told the Blade that many of them are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking and victims of hate crimes based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Part of the work that we have done for years is for us to become the bridge between the communities and law enforcement or the justice system in the United States,” said Duberli. “We have focused on creating a language that helps us to create this communication between the undocumented immigrant community and law enforcement, the state attorney’s office and the court.”

“The fear is not only about immigration,” he added. “There are many other factors that immigrants bring with them that became barriers in terms of wanting to or trying to access the justice system in the United States.”

Duberli spoke with the Blade roughly a week after the Biden administration began to allow into the U.S. asylum seekers who had been forced to pursue their cases in Mexico under the previous White House’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

The administration this week began to reunite migrant children who the Trump administration separated from their parents. Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule that closed the Southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants because of the coronavirus pandemic, remains in place.

Duberli told the Blade that Survivors Pathway advised some of their clients not to apply for asylum or seek visa renewals until after the election. Duberli conceded “the truth of the matter is that the laws haven’t changed that much” since Biden became president.

Survivors Pathway has worked with LGBTQ people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in South Florida. American Civil Liberties Union National Political Director Ronald Newman in an April 28 letter it sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called for the closure of the Krome North Service Processing Center in Miami, the Glades County Detention Center near Lake Okeechobee and 37 other ICE detention centers across the country.

The road leading to the Krome North Service Processing Center in Miami on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Survivors Pathway responded to trans woman’s murder in 2020

Survivors Pathway has created a project specifically for trans Latina women who Duberli told the Blade don’t know they can access the judicial system.

Duberli said Survivors Pathway works with local judges and police departments to ensure crime victims don’t feel “discriminated, or outed or mistreated or revictimized” because of their gender identity. Survivors Pathway also works with Marytrini, a drag queen from Cuba who is the artistic producer at Azúcar, a gay nightclub near Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Marytrini and Duberli are among those who responded to the case of Yunieski “Yuni” Carey Herrera, a trans woman and well-known activist and performer from Cuba who was murdered inside her downtown Miami apartment last November. Carey’s boyfriend, who had previously been charged with domestic violence, has been charged with murder.

“That was an ongoing situation,” noted Duberli. “It’s not the only case. There are lots of cases like that.”

Duberli noted a gay man in Miami Beach was killed by his partner the same week.

“There are lots of crimes that happen to our community that never gets to the news,” he said. “We got those cases here because of what we do.”

Yunieski “Yuni” Carey Herrera was murdered in her downtown Miami apartment in November 2020. (Photo courtesy of social media)

















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Patrick O’Connell, acclaimed AIDS activist, dies at 67

Played key role in creating red ribbon for awareness



Activist Patrick O’Connell was instrumental in creating the red ribbon to promote AIDS awareness. (Photo courtesy of Allen Frame; courtesy Visual AIDS)

Patrick O’Connell, a founding director of the New York City-based AIDS advocacy group Visual AIDS who played a lead role in developing the internationally recognized display of an inverted, V-shaped red ribbon as a symbol of AIDS advocacy, died on March 23 at a Manhattan hospital from AIDS-related causes, according to the New York Times. He was 67.

Visual AIDS said in a statement that O’Connell held the title of founding director of the organization from 1980 to 1995.

During those years, according to the statement and others who knew him, O’Connell was involved in the group’s widely recognized and supported efforts to use art and artist’s works to advocate in support of people with HIV/AIDS and efforts to curtail the epidemic that had a devastating impact on the art world.

Thanks to a grant from the Art Matters foundation, Visual AIDS was able to retain O’Connell as its first paid staff member in 1990, the group said in its statement.

“Armed with a fax machine and an early Macintosh computer, Patrick helped Visual AIDS grow from a volunteer group to a sustainable non-profit organization,” the statement says. “A passionate spokesperson for the organization, he helped projects like Day Without Art, Night Without Light, and the Red Ribbon reach thousands of people and organizations across the world,” the group says in its statement.

“We were living in a war zone,” the statement quoted O’Connell as saying in a 2011 interview with the Long Island newspaper Newsday. “But it was like a war that was some kind of deep secret only we knew about,” O’Connell said in the interview. “Thousands were dying of AIDS. We felt we had to respond with a visible expression,” he told the newspaper.

With O’Connell’s help, Visual AIDS in 1989 organized the first annual Day Without Art in which dozens of galleries and museums in New York and other cities covered art works with black cloths to symbolize the mourning of those who died of AIDS. Among those participating were the Brooklyn Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which replaced a Picasso painting with a “somber informational placard,” according to the New York Times.

In 1990 O’Connell helped Visual AIDS organize the first Night Without Light, which was held at the time of World AIDS Day. New York City’s skyscraper buildings, bridges, monuments, and Broadway theaters turned off their lights for 15 minutes to commemorate people who lost their lives to AIDS, the New York Times reported.

In the kickoff of its Red Ribbon Project in 1991, McConnell helped organize volunteers to join “ribbon bees” in which thousands of the ribbons were cut and folded for distribution around the city, the Times reports. Those who knew McConnell said he also arranged for his team of volunteers to call Broadway theaters and producers of the upcoming Tony Awards television broadcast to have participants and theater goers display the red ribbons on their clothes.

Among those displaying a red ribbon on his label at the Tony Awards broadcast was actor Jeremy Irons, who was one of the hosts. In later years, large numbers of celebrities followed the practice of wearing the red ribbon, and in 1993 the U.S. Postal Service issued a red ribbon stamp.

The Times reports that O’Connell was born and raised in Manhattan, where he attended Fordham Preparatory School and later graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in history. According to Visual AIDS, O’Connell served as director of the Hallwalls arts center in Buffalo, N.Y. from 1977 to 1978 before returning to New York City to work for a gallery called Artists Space.

The Times reports that O’Connell learned in the middle 1980s that he had contracted AIDS and began a regimen of early AIDS treatment with a cocktail of over 30 pills a day. His involvement with Visual AIDS, which began in 1989, ended on an active basis in 1995 when his health worsened, the Times reports.

As one of the last remaining survivors of his New York contemporaries who had HIV beginning in the 1980s, O’Connell continued in his strong support for AIDS-related causes through 2000s and beyond, people who knew him said.
Visual AIDS says it is gathering remembrances and photos for a tribute post for O’Connell on its website. It has invited people to share their memories of him by sending written contributions and images via email to: [email protected].

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