In the wake of accusations that Grindr allows racism and discriminatory language to flourish on its dating app, the company has released new guidelines and anti-discrimination policies.
Its ‘Kindr’ initiative aims “to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment on Grindr and elsewhere within the queer community,” said the company.
“Sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming and further forms of othering such as stigmatisation of HIV positive individuals are pervasive problems in the LGBTQ community,” commented Landen Zumwalt, head of communications at Grindr.
“These community issues get brought onto our platform, and as a leader in the gay dating space, Grindr has a responsibility to not only protect our users, but also to set the standard for the broader community that we serve,” said Zumwalt.
The campaign is built around a combination of new community guidelines, stricter enforcement policies and awareness-raising videos that highlight user experiences of discrimination in-app.
Anyone found bullying, threatening, or defaming another user will be banned. Grindr will also remove any discriminatory statements displayed on profiles.
“You’re free to express your preferences, but we’d rather hear about what you’re into, not what you aren’t,” said the company. Profile language that is used to openly discriminate against other users’ traits and characteristics (e.g. “No fats, no fems, no Asians”) will no longer be tolerated and will be subject to review by the moderation team.
Users who see someone breaking the rules are urged to report them using the block button found in the upper right corner of their profile.
“Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks. Our ‘Kindr’ initiative is a rallying call for Grindr and our community to take a stand against sexual racism and all forms of othering. Together, we will work to maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment and end the need for people to include exclusionary statements on profiles,” said Zumwalt.
As part of the video campaign, Grindr partnered with queer leaders and activists, including The Vixen and Jai Rodriguez, in addition to a number of every day users to share their experiences with discrimination and speak to ways to engage in respectful conversations online.
Over the coming weeks, Grindr will roll out videos on Grindr, social media and other platforms, and on Kindr.Grindr.com, a new landing page for the campaign.
In July, entertainment businessman Sinakhone Keodara announced that he would be suing Grindr for allowing users to state their so-called racial “preferences” when it comes to partners. “Singling out and invalidating an entire race is not expressing a preference; it’s spewing anti-Asian sentiments and it’s racist,” he said at the time.