Finding love in this digital age isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you’re transgender or non-binary.
For dating apps trying to find their place in this generation’s love scene, it’s a constant push-and-pull for inclusivity. Even for queer mingling platforms like Grindr, as praised as they are for normalizing LGBT+ romance, finding a common ground where all their users feel accepted has not been the walk in the park that it should be.
In 2017, Grindr announced an update to its app that proclaimed a new range of profile settings offering more options for gender identity. Grindr also introduced fields with gender-neutral language that could be utilized throughout the site.
The change came after the popular app surveyed their transgender users, and quickly found that many of them were unsatisfied with the treatment they were facing on the forum. After hearing reports of hate language and discrimination, Grindr teamed up with the National Center for Transgender Equality (name a better duo, I’ll wait) to make the app an all-around more tolerable place. Their new identity section allowed users to type in their own gender identity or choose from options ranging from “trans man” to “non-conforming.”
Another common point of dissatisfaction came from many trans users constantly taking on the burden of informing and educating the ignorant, misinformed and just plain curious on gender identity 101. To combat this particular tacit, Grindr implemented a FAQ that does this exact job, along with tips on how to respectfully interact with the non-binary. This way, users could do what they came to do- find love- and not serve as the health-care professionals they never signed up to be.
Almost a year later, and Grindr users still express concerns over the lack of tolerance in the app’s environment.
Transgender activist and model Munroe Bergdorf was one of many to call on the company to address the complaints of hate speech still used on the app. Bergdorf tweeted screenshots sent by fans of the disrespectful language they had received. The hate speech included a variety of racial and gender-identity slurs that sparked outrage from the model-turned-activist.
The interaction led to a phone call discussion where Bergdorf met with Grindr's Head of Communications Landen Zumwalt to talk plans of reform to reduce racism, transphobia, and body-shaming amongst other toxic behavior found on the platform. Days after their discussion, Grindr announced that they were rolling out a new "kindr" app, designed to prevent bullying. The update is set to be released in September 2018, and if done right, should be welcomed with open arms from a community that has endured countless accounts of digital abuse purely because of their race, gender or identity.
Hopefully, with the help of Bergdorf, Grindr will continue to take steps in the right direction of inclusivity. At the end of the day, no one deserves to be bombarded by derogatory and offensive name-calling, especially when they’re just trying to find love. Or a night to remember. Either way, Grindr: do better.