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Sailors, Speedos & Sex: Inside Grindr's Fire Island BBQ

Sailors, Speedos & Sex: Inside Grindr's Fire Island BBQ

Dozens of queers fled NYC for a poolside Pride weekend celebration. 

There was a crush of shirtless guys surrounding the pool at Grindr’s Daytime BBQ and Pool Party as a part of the app’s Saturday pool party in Fire Island. 

Some sported temporary tattoos saying things like “Cumslut, “Sis” and “Goddess, provided as a part of a collaboration with VisonaireWorld and Stewart Uoo. Some, like Nicholas Elliott of N-P Elliott, wandered into the beachfront sand for the pop-up photo booth outfitted with Sailor gear, while others customized Andrew Christian speedos back on the property. A few hours into the fete, two of the guests caught each other’s eyes from across the pool, with one eventually making his way round to introduce himself. Before long, the pair had moved up, through the party, past where Thorgy Thor was DJing and into the VIP section to make out.


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Photo courtesy Owen Kolasinski/BFA

The idea of leaving Manhattan for Pride Weekend seems a bit counterintuitive. A part of the appeal of Pride Weekend, as well as any huge weekend of events is the ability to jump from party to party, and take in as much as possible. In fact, last year Grindr itself provided that wealth of experiences, across three floors of the Standard Hotel, for the first-ever #Slumbr. But if there was any place to be outside of the City for NYC Pride, with its history in the gay community, Fire Island was definitely an apt choice.

“I went [this year] mainly on the strength of the first one, “ said Shannon Stokes, an illustrator and stylist who worked on SZA’s recently released “Drew Barrymore” music video and has also previously worked with stars like Beyoncé and Rihanna. “The first one was so unexpected and incredible we had to see what the next year had in store.”

Related | Drag Race Finalist Peppermint on Her Personal New Documentary

This year the event came in three parts: the aforementioned daytime barbecue and pool party, an evening formal featuring performances by Macey Grave and recent RuPaul’s Drag Race finalist, Peppermint, and a Sunday morning brunch.

“It was absolutely worth the trip,” former accessories designer and boy about town, Rembrandt Duran said of the day party. He was one of many attendees who left after the day party. “It was less well curated than last year, but it was still a fun ass party.” The sentiment was shared by many who attended that event. 

Related | The Anti-Closet Case: Rembrandt Duran is On a Mission to Normalize Gay Sex

“I’m a pretty little lady, top two on Drag Race, shut up,” Peppermint wrapped as a part of her Bruno Mars “24k Magic” cover during her second performance at the evening event.. With many of the attendees having ferried off the island after the day party, and even more hopping on the last ferry with Macy Gray after her abbreviated performance, the set was for a reduced, but enthused audience. That set also involved the queen performing “Shady Phone,” a track from her Friday released album Black Pepper and a moment laughingly similar to one of RPDR Season 9 winner Sasha Velour’s finale performances.


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Photo courtesy Owen Kolasinski/BFA

“It was coming off any way,” she said, removing her wig, stacked high with golden dreadlocks. The Pavilion went up in applause.

Through it all, the event, like last year's had an alternative aim at pushing Grindr beyond its almost, synonymous “hookup app.” Here, it was more of a safe space. A fun, but safe space for like-minded queers to enjoy themselves. And like at Saturday's day party, with that couple who spotted each other from across the pool and made their way up to VIP to make out before leaving the party together, sex will always be involved. 

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