#BristlrPride Winners

winners

We have our winners!

While we had some fabulous entries, we managed to narrow it down to our three winners in each category!

Taking home the Rainbow Beard category is:

It might not be a rainbow, but it’s a wonderful colour and we truly admired the creativity! You’re a winner!

Category is… GLITTER BEARD! And our winner is:

A beautiful, glittery look! Condragulations, you’re a winner, baby!

And our final category, with the most entries (so well done, you!), the standard beard winner is…

Beardy, beautiful, what’s not to love! Congratulations, you’ve done it!

Well done to our three competition winners! We will be in touch to sort out your prizes!

A huge thank you to everyone that entered the competition and to Totem Wolf for supplying the prizes!

Until next time, #HappyPride!

 

 

#BristlrPride Entrants

Pride Summary

It’s almost time to reveal our THREE WINNERS of the #BristlrPride competition!

But before we do that, let’s take a quick look back at all the wonderful photos you beards and beard lovers have sent in.

*Multiple photos has not increased anyone’s chances of winning, but we’re always happy to see more of you!

So, in no particular order, here are the many beards of Pride!!

#bristlrpride #europride2016 #thessalonikipride

A post shared by Ivan Enchev (@ivanenchev) on

Okay, actually our first entrant! And a beautiful beard at that! Now, in no particular order!

#bristlrpride #beards #manchesterpride

A post shared by Andrew Love (@andylove100) on

All those beautiful beards, but are they a winner?

A beard and achievements to be proud of! Well done, you!

Wee Glasgow Pride March selfie #BristlrPride

A post shared by simon (@strangerbythecake) on

Could this fiery red beard be our winner?

@samuelalexanderxiii 's first pride!!! #happypride #manchesterpride #celebratinghistory #bristlrpride

A post shared by Joseph (@joey_seph) on

Someone found a member of our team!

Smile, it’s Pirde! And you could be a winner!

Our only bearded queen! And a fabulous queen at that! Here’s hoping you’re a winner!

Lost at Pride @manchesterpride #manchesterpride #pride #beard #lgbt #bristlrpride #streetparty

A post shared by Robert Elkin (@robertelkin) on

There could be a reason to celebrate yet!

Good luck to you and Lil Poundcake!

Who said you couldn’t get creative? Extra points there!

Living it up and hopefully having a reason to celebrate soon!

Just look at that beard of authority!

Those are all our entrants for Bristlr Pride! Thank you so much to everyone that took part, we hope you all had a magical Pride celebration!

We’ve consulted with Totem Wolf, our prize suppliers, and the decision is ours to make.

Our three winners will be announced tomorrow, so watch this space! You could be one of them!

Post Pride Celebrations at Bristlr

Pride Summary

It’s officially the end of EuroPride month, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be proud! So we’ll be carrying on with our Queer Beard Questions series as we find more people to speak to. So if you want to get involved, get in touch!

In addition, our #BristlrPride competition is STILL running! It’s been a busy Pride month, and we know (from experience) that when you’re caught up in the moment it can be tricky to do things like enter competitions with amazing prizes. So we’ll be accepting entries for the first week of September!

Insta send out

We’ve already had some fabulous entries, just take a look below!

#bristlrpride #europride2016 #thessalonikipride

A post shared by Ivan Enchev (@ivanenchev) on

Just look at that beard of Pride! 

#bristlrpride #beards #manchesterpride

A post shared by Andrew Love (@andylove100) on

All those beards, practically beaming with Pride!!

Lost at Pride @manchesterpride #manchesterpride #pride #beard #lgbt #bristlrpride #streetparty

A post shared by Robert Elkin (@robertelkin) on

That’s a face of pure pride right there! 

And that’s just some of them!

Thanks to the support of our amazing friends at Totem Wolf, Bristlr was able to actually attend Manchester Pride this year. Albeit on a small scale (just me!), but what an experience was had! Next year, we’re thinking Bristlr Pride float! Fingers crossed…

We saw some pretty amazing beards…

And reconnected with some old friends! Remember our #BareYourBeard runner up here? 

We even had the pleasure of meeting the handsome guys at Moody Bear

…and couldn’t resist getting some of their merch. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from them!

This is the personal bit – the most important part for me was attending the vigil on the final day of Manchester Pride. With so many attacks on the LGBTQ community in recent months, a community that I am proudly a part of, I wanted to show solidarity in the face of adversity. A truly humbling and moving experience.

Manchester Pride Vigil
Photo credit – Glenn Jones

So thank you to everyone that has shown their support in joining in with Pride and helping Bristlr celebrate, whether you entered the competition, spread the word, helped us raise awareness or helped us actually attend a Pride celebration ourselves (Thanks again, Totem Wolf!)! It’s been an enjoyable month for us at Bristlr, and we were proud to take part!

Don’t think it’s over though, the team at Bristlr will strive to always raise awareness for our fellow LGBTQ community all year around! So as always, watch this space for exciting things to come.

Queer Beard Questions – Ruby Rawbone

Ruby Ross
With Pride Season in full swing, we’re making a whole series of Queer Beard Questions! We’ll be seeking out various queer beards to question them on their thoughts on beards, their own expression of gender and gender identities and the progress we, the LGBTQ community, have made over the years.

Ruby Ross 2

Our first interview is with a good friend of ours, Ruby Rawbone (AKA Ross), a beautiful, beardy BABE of a drag queen based in Bristol. Here’s what they had to say:

What does drag mean to you?
Drag to me means that I can be whatever I want to, Its a beautiful and varied art form. Drag is an expression, a movement, a performance.
Drag Kings and Queens have been an integral part of the LGBTQ community and have been the key to so many successful equality movements. The art form has been around for centuries and continue to grow everyday. There are so many sub cultures within the drag community, which is a sub culture itself. It just shows how varied the art form is and to be part of something so wonderful is nothing short of an honour. Standing on stage at Bristol pride was a highlight of Ruby’s life so far and to receive the love and support that I did it made the 6am start worthwhile.
What do beards mean to you?
Beards have historically been a sign of status and masculinity. You just have to look at history and portraits to understand that… However it is very much not the case in this day and age. It is a look and they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They are used as  a sign of expression, blue beards being my favorite so far.
What statement are you trying to make by mixing drag and beards?
When I first started being a drag performer, I loved my beard as  Ross and thought why compromise. Ruby was spawned with a beard and why change that. The mixing of the stereotypical feminine look with the stereotypical masculine look worked for me as a performer. Why should I have to do something because society says so? I took a lot of influence from several areas from the beautiful creatures that make the ‘Sink the Pink’ nights in London, to the Cabaret stunners all around the country to the artistic prowess of the Housewives of Birmingham and the #Manchesterqueens.
How do you feel about recent acknowledgements of different gender identities? 
About TIME, why should anyone be put in one of two boxes by society. There are an infinite amount of ‘boxes’ and people should be able to be who they want to be with THEIR life and jump in and out of whatever they want. Why label it? I feel some people have to compartmentalise to understand, but who cares what other people think, life is too short. Be the beautiful person you are, whatever that may be.
What would you say to someone that sees beards as a “men only” zone and would force us in to little gender boxes? 
Two words…. F**K YOU.
What words of wisdom and inspiration would you impart to anyone struggling with their idea of gender and how to present themselves? 
Be who ever you are and want to be. The people who care about you will love you for whatever you want. Just fill your life with love and positivity and you will be a very happy person leading a full life. I learned this the hard way. Ruby has shown and taught me a lot. I get so much love from strangers, friends and family so go on do your thing. The LGBTQ  community are a massive family across the world and will stand by each other regardless. Drop a friend a message tell them you’ll support them with anything big or small. express yourself! LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Thank you so much to the beautiful Ruby Rawbone! Stay bearded and stay beautiful, and keep up those words of positivity!

#BristlrPrideMCR with Totem Wolf!

Bristlr Pride

Oh, y’all wanted a twist?!

You read the title right, beard fans! Celebrating our Manchester roots and the LGBTQ community, Bristlr will be attending #ManchesterPride! It’s all thanks to Totem Wolf!

In celebration of Manchester Pride month we’ll be creating a number of blogs in celebration of gender and sexuality, all beard-centric of course! Watch this space, you might just learn a thing or two, and you’ll be proud of yourself for opening your mind. How fun?!

We’ll also be running a competition sponsored by Totem Wolf, more on that later! Be sure to take a look at their amazing selection of products – we’ll be plugging them this month too as a huge thank you!

So, keep an eye out for our Bristlr rep at Pride and watch this space to get involved with our competition!

Bristlr Pride

#HappyPride!

Bristlr Romance – You’re All Welcome!

With all of the excitement going on here at Bristlr, what with our #BareYourBeard competition well underway and our celebration of 100,000 users strong on our beard network, we’re feeling a little warm and fuzzy.

So we want you to join in!

Have you found romance on Bristlr? Have you met the beard of your dreams, found someone to stroke your beard or someone to share your mutual love of face fuzz with you? We want to know! We were touched by Sophie and Kyle’s heartwarming story when they got in touch to tell us how Bristlr helped them find each other. Recently Ben and Lydia got in touch with their own story and we couldn’t be happier for them.

We want to know about it!

Call us soppy, but we love reading your touching stories, and we just can’t get enough of them. So please, let us know if you’ve found love on Bristlr.

And remember, the only requirement for you to be on Bristlr? Be a fan of beards! Regardless of your gender identity, sexuality, age (as long as you’re over 18), whether you have a beard, love a beard, or both, you’re welcome on Bristlr!

So You Can’t Advertise to Bisexual or Polyamorous People on Facebook

The bisexual pride flag - Wikipedia

A few days ago our advertising account with Facebook was “flagged for policy violations.” Meaning  “any adverts that [Bristlr are] running have been turned off.” Fair enough, these things happen and it’s not a big deal.

It was probably because in one ad we quote CNBC calling us the “Tinder for Beards”. Or perhaps it was because Facebook require prior permission before running dating ads, but as they don’t provide any way to contact them, we didn’t seek it. Either way I expect it to be sorted out shortly, and that’s not the point of this blog post.

The point of this blog post is to highlight the policies themselves, and some weirdness I found in them after having a closer read.

They have a section in their policies specifically for dating. And it’s all reasonable stuff; no nudity, don’t con people, don’t advertise to kids, no selling of mail-order brides etc.

But, they also have these policy points when it comes to who your ads can target:

  • The “Sex” targeting parameter must be set to either “Men” or “Women”.
  • The “Interested In” targeting parameter must be set to “Men”, “Women” or “Unspecified”. Combinations of “Men” and “Unspecified” and “Women” and “Unspecified” are also acceptable.

And these points are weird.

Your adverts have to be aimed at a specific sex (even though Facebook don’t actually track sex, and are mixing up the term “sex” with “gender” which… I don’t have time for that, read this). And those pigeon-holed people can’t be interested in dating both men and women; they have to be either straight, gay, or unspecified.

If you’re running, for example, a genderless dating site for people into beards, to use Facebook you have to break your demographic down into their “sex”, and then again into whether they’re straight or gay, or other.

As a better example which isn’t about us; if you’re running a dating site for bisexual, queer or just undecided people, you have to duplicate your ads to reach to two groups of arbitrarily grouped people.

Then we find this lovely line of the policy:

  • The “Relationship” targeting parameter must be set to “Single” or “Unspecified”.

As if open relationships and polyamory don’t exist, even though Facebook themselves provide an option to say you’re in “an open relationship”?

In taking broad strokes to prevent nefarious companies using the Facebook advertising platform, they’ve made it difficult for those not in the mainstream to reach people, and that sucks.

No, it’s not the biggest deal in the whole world, and Facebook are hardly alone in their actions, but it shows we still have a way to go.

To any developers out there remember: code is political.

We’re not adding gender options until we can do it right

Caption

When it comes to sexuality and gender, dating sites are pretty shit at anything beyond a simple binary. They get halfway through “LGBT” and just sort of give up.

OKCupid only started adding more realistic gender options late last year. Tinder and Happn are purely binary (with the former apparently banning trans users). Even trendy new start-ups who have their gender options praised in the press, in reality fail pretty miserably at delivery.

Bristlr doesn’t have gender options.

When we made the first prototype of Bristlr we knew we needed some kind of filtering (ideally a binary system for ease of development). So why pick gender with its infinite complexity, when we can just filter on beard or no-beard?

I’m pretty sure this makes Bristlr the largest dating site ever, without gender.

The great

We’re, like, super inclusive. If you’re into beards, we’re into you, and our doors are wide open. Lady looking for a gentleman-Viking for winter? Bearded dame rocking a kick-ass beard wanting to chat to new people? Asexual cutie with an addiction to rating beards? We love everyone. Hello!

The less-great

Bristlr’s doors may work for everyone. But without gender-based filtering, once you’re in the building you can have a less-than-ideal time finding people if you have specific preferences. It’s a common assumption that Bristlr is for guys with beards and women who want to meet them. And whilst this is the case for the majority of Bristlr’s users, it’s not the whole story.

To take gay guys as an example: We do get great feedback from guys using Bristlr to find other guys, but we do also get a lot of feedback which can be generalised to “I only want to see guys into guys”. You can filter by keyword, but this only works if you assume every gay guy has “gay” somewhere in their profile. It’s not great.

The plan

We’re going to add gender and sexuality options to Bristlr in order to support our LGBTQ+ users. But we’re not going to rush it.

Our current plan is to add an optional gender field to profiles: A text box allowing multiple, comma-separated words of your choosing (or invention). Then a second field where you write the genders you’re interested in. We then filter and match using a list of synonyms, plus existing filters like location, age, beard/no-beard etc.

The synonym list will be public, and community reviewed.

We want to help drive a better industry standard for this kind of stuff, and we know we’ve got a lot of work ahead. We’re a tiny team currently going through the Ignite start-up accelerator, so we’re being metaphorically scrunched up and fired out of a Business Cannon (like a human cannon, but with more spreadsheets). It may take us a little while, but this is going to happen.

If you have any thoughts, questions, concerns, or funny cat pictures, please do leave a comment or find me on Twitter.

Photo credit: Sexuality flag heart patches from Nerdloft on StoreEnvy


John Kershaw is Bristlr’s founder and CEO.