New York, NY, April 20, 2018 — Sexual assault is an all-too-frequent occurrence in America, and this is true for LGBTQ people as well. Hornet Gay Social Network is partnering with Planned Parenthood Federation of America as well as the Los Angeles LGBT Center to build a culture of consent and respect within the LGBTQ community. As the largest global LGBT newsroom, Hornet is partnering with the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood, which is committed to helping people communicate about sex and consent respectfully and confidently, and engage in healthy relationships. In addition, Hornet is working with the Los Angeles LGBT Center to further that support to survivors and provide additional resources online and off.

Together we’ll be creating and sharing social media and editorial content to educate users on why and how to talk about consent. We’ll be highlighting an online videos series designed to explain and model to young people what consent is and what it looks like in different situations.   

“Sex education is where sexual assault prevention begins, for all people — not just LGBTs,” says Sean Howell, President of Hornet. “The public deserves this kind of information. We must work to take care of our community and will continue to provide helpful information that gives the community skills to navigate healthy relationships, sex and consent.  Sex should be fun and consensual.”

The LGBTQ community faces higher rates of marginalization, poverty and stigma. These factors can leave the community vulnerable to sexual violencel. LGBTQ people also face higher rates of hate-motivated violence, which can sometimes take the form of sexual assault. In addition, despite marriage equality, LGBTQ relationships remain stigmatized, and the portrayal of them are often hypersexualized, which can lead to intimate partner violence stemming from internalized homophobia and shame. The stigma that many LGBTQ people face can make it more difficult for survivors to report. (Despite marriage equality, LGBTQ relationships remain stigmatized making it difficult for survivors to report assault and expect to be treated failry and compassionately)

“Education and community support can help LGBTQ people feel more empowered around their sexuality. LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault must be affirmed and together we can highlight their experiences so as to demonstrate it is nothing to be ashamed of and that they are being heard.”

For LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault, their identities — and the discrimination they face surrounding those identities — often make them hesitant to seek help from police, hospitals, shelters or rape crisis centers, the very resources that are meant to help them.

“The impact of sexual assault on the LGBT community is frequently invisible, in part because assaults are under-reported and statistics are not available. Many times, media that caters to gay and bisexual male communities show men as hypersexualized, which further blurs the lines of what is consensual or unwanted,” said Jesse Proia, mental health clinician at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “At the Center’s Male Sexual Assault Survivors Group, destigmatizing sexual assault is the first step of the healing process. Most survivors blame themselves, when really the perpetrators are solely responsible. At the Center, we try to help survivors heal from their traumatic pasts by helping them set their sights on, and work towards, brighter futures.”

Hornet is pleased to work with partners to make this kind of sex education within reach of people’s phone, on the Hornet app, and with health centers. Hornet supports a variety of educational programs around wellness for the LGBTQ community, including STI testing, HIV prevention medication (PrEP), PEP and mental health. For more information on this evolving space, head here.

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About Hornet Networks  

Hornet is the world’s premier gay social network. Founded in 2011 with the mission to build the digital home for the gay community, Hornet has grown to 25 million total users by utilizing cutting-edge technology for its dating platform and producing original editorial content to connect a community around common interests. Hornet provides a superior user experience and is number one in the key markets of France, Russia, Brazil, Turkey and Taiwan, and is consistently expanding its sizable user base in the United States. For more information, please visit: https://hornet.com