· Updated on May 29, 2018

For anyone hopping off the bus at Port Authority, from let’s say a town like Binghamton, NY, logging onto Grindr in New York City is nothing like the grid you encounter at home. The nearest torso isn’t 32 miles away, and those little squares are filled with twinks in thigh-highs, drag queens looking for trade, and rubber pups. “Queerdos” aren’t hiding behind masks of masc-ness. They aren’t trying to outdo one another in some competition to say they’re men in their “About Me” section. NYC based photographer Eli Schmidt perused the queer of the city to find a side of Grindr that isn’t Chelsea or Hell’s Kitchen.

For these queers, in their homes and browsing their own grids mindlessly for hours, they are the ones in power. They choose who to please or be pleased by. You can’t find them in every little square, but when you do, it’s as if you’re an unsuspecting fly who’s landed on Venus. You don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into, but you’ll certainly never forget “Fag is Power, Fag is Beautiful, Fag is Danger.” No matter the mantra, that queer behind the screen is watching and you’ve already been swallowed whole.

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