The Republican Party has trotted out a mind-bogglingly regressive, anti-gay platform for this election year, condemning gay marriage and defending those who would cite religion as a reason to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
But if porn sites and dating apps are any indication, then the Republican party isn’t just out of touch with the American populace at large, it’s out of touch with the very people who constitute its base.
According to data provided by Pornhub and Grindr, Peter Thiel was hardly the only gay to grace the RNC with his presence. Grindr told MEL that activity near the convention center in Cleveland on Wednesday night was 166 percent higher than normal. And on Sunday night, before the convention festivities officially began, Grindr use shot up 120 percent relative to previous evenings, suggesting the city experienced a sudden influx of Grindr users. On Monday, the overall user volume within a mile of the convention center was 18 times higher than usual. The word “visiting” was the second-most used word among the profiles Grindr analyzed for this study. (The first was “fun.”)
This revelation corresponds to a similar increase in the amount of gay porn viewed in Cleveland this past week. The Pornhub category “Gay — Hunks” saw an extraordinary 421 percent increase in traffic in Cleveland from July 18–21, Pornhub says.
Whether or not those masturbators were gay male Republicans, however, is a little tough to say. They could be female Republican voters (ha!) who get off on watching two studs go at each other. Or they could be people who came to Cleveland to work the convention and are unaffiliated with the GOP. Or they could be sinful members of the liberal media.
But considering there were more than four times as many visits to “Gay — Hunks” videos than usual in Cleveland this week, it’s fair to surmise that at least some of the visitors were Republican men in town for the convention, thus making the GOP’s platform laughably, sadly hypocritical. That, or members of the Republican Party are currently surrounded by people they would wish to discriminate against.
The Pornhub category with the second-greatest increase in traffic from Cleveland was “Gay — Group,” which jumped by 225 percent. “Bisexual” was up 132 percent, meanwhile.
Overall, Pornhub traffic in Cleveland was up 4.2 percent, mostly from mobile devices. Were Republican delegates rubbing one out in a Quicken Loans Arena bathroom stall on Wednesday night, while vice presidential nominee Mike Pence espoused religious and family values in the next room? Who knows.
Perhaps most interestingly, though, is that searches for Muslim- and Arab-related pornography was 204 percent higher than usual, a staggering figure considering the party’s unapologetic Islamophobia this election season. And the scariest Pornhub datapoint is that searches for Trump-related porn increased 624 percent during the convention. So not only is there a swath of the American electorate that actually wants to vote for Trump, there are a good number of Americans who want to have sex with him, too (or at the very least watch him fuck).
Republicans have adopted a staunchly anti-gay platform in light of and despite all the social progress for LGBTQ Americans in recent years. But the data shows that the Republican Party isn’t just at odds with the tides of social progress when it comes to LGBT issues, it’s also at odds with itself.