Monday, March 20, 2017

Hooking Up with Public Health and Social Justice

Who knew the most notorious hook up app could be making such a positive impact in the world?
Hook up culture is extremely common with young generations. Thus, taking dating apps seriously is a great modern challenge. Although most approach such apps with an insincere attitude, Jack Harrison-Quintana has seen the great potential these apps can serve. Since working with Grindr for Equality (G4E). Through the combination of his passions, the availability of resources, and the void of his specific type of work, Harrison-Quintana has been able to improve the education and resources of LGBTQ members through Grindr.

Jack Harrison-Quintana is clearly intrinsically motivated in his field of work and his actions correspond thoroughly with the writings of Collins and Amabile. After finishing his degree, he worked in an unpaid internship at the National LGBTQ Task Force. It is hard to imagine taking a job without pay after the amounting debt that students procure in current times. Yet, with his passions for social justice, he was willing to make the sacrifice. Once he got his foot in the door, he wrote several books, worked for other organizations, and in 2015 ended up working for G4E.

Jack’s passion for social justice for the LGBTQ community stems from one of his first major relationships. After dating this person for some time, she transitioned to a female after they broke up. Additionally, Jack has been involved with many other trans people. Because of this exposure on such an intimate level, he was able to learn to understand their unique struggles in society and decided to dedicate his life to fighting for LGBTQ equality.

Of all the work he has accomplished, his current projects with G4E are the most impressive and creative. First of all, through surveys that he has put out through Grindr in the San Francisco area, Harrison-Quintana has found that there is a disparity in PrEP, an HIV prevention medication, prescriptions between races. Due to his findings, he is able to use geotargeting to place ads in underrepresented areas on the app in both English and Spanish. This ensures that the gap is closed by providing access and resources for low-income LGBTQ community members.  

Harrison-Quintana has also expanded his reach beyond the United States. He currently has two major projects in Lebanon and Indonesia. Again, by using the Grindr app to geotarget, he is able to determine the area where displaced refugees in both locations are settling most frequently. Can you imagine being both an outsider due to your sexual orientation/gender identity but also an outsider culturally and linguistically? With all of their troubles: not being able to speak a new language, not knowing their rights in their new location, not having access to hormones and other medication, etc, G4E posts ads that indicate resources and assistance for those in need. This work that Jack is doing is lifesaving!

It is clear through his career path and the way he talks about what he does that he is extremely passionate about LGBTQ and racial equality. By using his resources as the directory of the non-profit branch of a well-known company in combination with modern technology, Harrison-Quintana is able to improve the lives of countless LGBTQ community members. There is no doubt that Jack Harrison-Quintana has earned a spot in the top 100 of the “Most Creative People 2016.”

To hear Jack speak about his current projects and learn more about them, click here.

Collins, M. A., & Amabile, T. M. (1999). Motivation and creativity. In Robert J. Sternberg (Ed.) Handbook of Creativity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

1 comment:

  1. Hookup apps like Tinder or Grindr so often get a bad rep, and it was refreshing to hear a new perspective on this one! Oftentimes, our generation is seen as attention-seeking, short-sighted, and shallow, with a focus on instant gratification. Jack's work, however, is an example of taking something that has in a way come to represent those stereotypes, a hookup app, and using it as a platform for long-term societal change and improvement. His work is also an example of companies or individuals taking user data, something else that gets immediate bad reactions, and using it to create positive change. I had never thought of the other uses for dating app data, but this opens up a whole new area of information that people were much more private about 50 years ago. In fact, even having a dating app specifically targeted to the LGBT community is a sign of progress, and I love the steps Jack is taking to further it.


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