In the time of COVID-19, wearing a mask or face covering while in public to curb the virus’s spread has become a global topic of conversation. While in certain parts of the world — namely Asia — mask-wearing has long been entrenched in the culture, it’s a relatively new phenomenon for many. And the practice hasn’t been met with singular support, as evidenced not only by a steady stream of viral videos depicting anti-mask antagonists coming out of the United States, but large-scale demonstrations occurring elsewhere around the world.
But how are queer men (gay men, bi men, trans men) around the world responding to the globe’s present predicament? How common is mask-wearing among the community, how entrenched is the notion of face mask efficacy, and what types of masks are these men wearing? Hornet asked these questions of its global user base, and are now able to offer insight into the thoughts and actions of this unique demographic.
Surveying 2,500 queer men from 95 countries around the world, 66.4% of respondents say they wear a mask or face covering “every time” they leave the house these days, while an additional 18.6% say they “usually” wear a mask, and 8.7% say they “sometimes” wear a mask. Only 3.3% of the queer men who took Hornet’s survey said they “never” wear a mask when leaving the house, and an even smaller percentage, 2.9%, say they “hardly ever” wear a mask.
The prevalence of queer men wearing masks or face coverings in public is interesting when compared to data around mask use in other parts of the globe. It appears that queer men around the world are more likely to wear a mask or face covering upon leaving the house than the percentage of American men, the overall population percentages of most of Europe, and the overall percentages of some Asian nations.
According to an August 2020 Pew Research Center survey, mask-wearing among Americans has increased over the summer months, but only 83% of American men wear a mask in public “all or most of the time,” compared to the 85% of queer men worldwide uncovered by Hornet’s survey. And compared to data published by the Economist in July, Hornet’s respondents are more likely to wear a mask in public than the overall populations of Italy (81%), China (81%), Vietnam (79%), France (78%), Mexico (68%), Canada (58%), Britain (30%) and all of Scandinavia, where the percentage of mask-wearers come in under 20%. (*It’s important to note that these population percentages may have increased since the original data was collected.)
Of the queer men who responded to Hornet’s survey, 90.5%, believe wearing a mask or face covering when out in public helps reduce the spread of COVID-19, while 9.5% do not. It should be noted that an overwhelming majority of international health experts say the evidence is clear: when worn properly, masks help prevent spread of the virus, and the more people wearing masks, the better.
Hornet users were also surveyed on whether they think wearing a mask or face covering can be stylish, and the types of face coverings they are wearing in public. Of those surveyed, 55.3% answered, “Yes, masks or face coverings can be stylish”; 41.4% answered, “Masks are not stylish, but I wear one anyway’; and 3.3% answered, “Masks are not stylish, and that’s why I refuse to wear one.”
The most common types of mask or face covering worn by these queer men from across the globe are surgical/medical masks (55%) and cloth masks (52%), followed by N95 respirators (17%) and bandanas/handkerchiefs (7%). (*Respondents were asked to indicate all mask types that applied.)
Hornet’s survey data raises some interesting questions around why mask-wearing sees a higher prevalence among queer men than many countries’ population percentages worldwide. Specifically, Hornet’s data raises topics of health consciousness and empathy.
Along with presenting the data from this recent survey, Hornet — the world’s gay social network — will be promoting mask-wearing inside the app throughout this month, kicking off Friday, Sept. 4, with International #Mask4Mask Day, a campaign created by Hornet to help spread awareness and reduce any remaining stigma around the health benefits and signified respect that comes with wearing a face covering in public. Hornet users who post selfies of themselves wearing a mask and who use the hashtag #Mask4Mask will have a newly designed sticker placed on their posts.
All Hornet users are encouraged to normalize and celebrate mask-wearing during these troubled times, as this can be yet another opportunity for queer men around the world to lead the charge on important social and health issues.
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Hornet is the world’s gay social network with over 25 million diverse users, providing a community home base that is available anytime, anywhere. Amplifying the radical, affirmative power of the gay community with cutting-edge technology, users feel comfortable sharing their experiences with friends who understand and validate their life. Founded in 2011, Hornet has disrupted dozens of markets such as France, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan, to become the number 1 gay app, and is rapidly expanding its sizable user base across Europe and in the United States.
More information at hornet.com
Media inquiries: Stephan Horbelt, Executive Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org