It's no secret that Tinder is mega-popular, especially with Millennials. The ease with which you can swipe through men and women and start chatting with someone is amazing — it almost makes finding a date or hookup too easy. While I (and my heterosexual peers) rarely find any issues with traditional dating apps, unfortunately not everyone experiences similar ease. It might be fun, but, more importantly, is Tinder LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive?
Having a plethora of options for one's gender and sexuality can really set one dating app apart from another, and it seems Tinder execs are taking note of that. Sean Rad, Founder and CEO of Tinder, spoke at Recode’s Code Conference and outlined how Tinder is "striving to become more inclusive to ALL of its users, focusing on the needs of the transgender and gender nonconforming (GNC) communities."
This is obviously welcome news, as it's so easy for the needs of LGBTQ individuals to be swept under the rug. Bustle writer Mariella Mosthof wrote last year that her experience on Tinder as a queer woman was less than ideal. She said that even though she'd said she was "interested in" women, her Tinder feed was still full of men.
It seems that it's about time Tinder made moves to fix the experience LGBTQ users are having with the app. "Currently, Tinder users have the option to identify as a male or a female interested in males or females," A Tinder representative tells Bustle. "That’s it, and it’s less than ideal for members of the trans and GNC communities. Consider a scenario where a transgender woman matches with a man, who eventually learns that she is trans. This sort of thing happens frequently, and unfortunately the trans or GNC people in these situations are having their accounts reported as a result."
Since Tinder has so many users, they can't go through every reported profile. but once a profile is flagged more than once, it can be suspended or even deleted. Someone being trans should never be considered grounds for suspension or deletion, so it's incredibly important that Tinder is working to address that issue. "Tinder is partnering with GLAAD, Andrea James and other leading people/organizations at the forefront of the trans movement to make sure they do the best job of making sure the app provides the same experience for ALL users, helping them spark connections between people mutually interested in one another," the Tinder representative says.
While it's not yet clear what changes will be made to the app to make it more inclusive, Tinder tells Bustle the changes should begin coming next month.
"No matter who you are, no matter what you’re looking for, you should get quality matches through the Tinder experience," Rad said Recode’s Code Conference. "There’s an important transgender (and gender nonconforming) community on Tinder who haven’t had that experience... yet... This is not only the right thing to do for our users, it’s the right thing to do, period.”
Here are three other LGBT-friendly dating apps — let's hope the future of all dating apps is emphasizing inclusiveness.
1. Wing Ma'am
This dating app for LGBTQ women boasts an impressive 13 options for gender identity — much better than apps that only let you identify as "male" or "female." It also has tons of filters to help you in your search, whether you're looking for someone who's asexual, polyamorous, and everything in between. This super customizable app is definitely the most inclusive dating app on the market.
Although OKC is widely used by heterosexual people, it also has one important feature that attracts LGBTQ people: An "I don't want to see or be seen by straight people" option. While this might not seem like a big deal, it actually takes away a ton of creepiness: Namely, that lesbian or queer women no longer have to deal with messages from straight guys trying to "turn" them. In addition, OKC offers 22 possible gender identities and 12 sexual orientations.
Hornet markets itself as the "most welcoming gay app" — it doesn't tolerate any hate language, and works to "support various gay cultures and races." Unlike apps like Growlr and Scruff — which are marketed towards a specific subset of the gay population — Hornet is inclusive of all preferences within the gay community.