September 18, 2018 / 7:23 PM / a month ago

Gay dating app announces 'zero tolerance' of racism, transphobia

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Gay dating app Grindr has announced a “zero tolerance policy” toward racism, transphobia and other discrimination on the platform as it looks to crack down on abusive behavior within the LGBT dating scene.

The company said it would ban users who used hateful language and may even remove options allowing users to filter potential dates by age and race in a bid to tackle the issue.

“Any language that is intended to openly discriminate against characters and traits, like infamously, ‘No fats, no femmes, no Asians’...that isn’t going to be tolerated any more,” said Landen Zumwalt, Grindr’s head of communications.

“Grindr is the leader in the gay dating space and we have an enormous power to reach a massive audience and drive real awareness around these topics and these issues,” Zumwalt told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

There have long been complaints of racism, transphobia, body-shaming and other discrimination in the gay dating scene.

Grindr users have posted screenshots showing profiles which list preferences such as “No Asians” and “No fats, not racist but only white”.

While critics argue users are entitled to their dating preferences, others say profiles rejecting entire racial groups or other minorities are offensive.

Grindr has responded by toughening its guidelines to say profile descriptions ruling out specific groups such as racial minorities, trans people or HIV-positive people are no longer allowed and discriminatory states will be removed.

Anyone bullying, threatening, or defaming another user will be banned, and the site is increasing its moderation team.

UK Black Pride welcomed Grindr’s move, but said the whole community needed to do more to combat such discrimination.

“Our movement depends on those in positions of power, those who can influence, doing what they must to ensure racism, sexism, misogyn(oir), transphobia and all forms of bullying are eradicated,” it said in an emailed statement.

Grindr has also launched a Kindr campaign highlighting users’ stories about the distress caused by discriminatory comments.

Other sites said they were also taking action to tackle racism and discrimination.

Gay dating site Adam4Adam said they encouraged users to report all types of discrimination and would ban users who failed to treat others with respect.

Reporting by Sonia Elks, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, resilience and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.

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