Grindr has unveiled its ‘Kindr’ campaign to combat racism and abuse on the app – and they’re cracking down on the language used on profiles, too.
Grindr will no longer allow exclusionary language like “no fats, no fems, no Asians” to be used on user profiles as part of new changes first hinted at in July.
“Profile language that is used to openly discriminate against other users’ traits and characteristics will no longer be tolerated and will be subject to review by our moderation team.”
The move is part of new community guidelines which emphasise inclusion and creating a welcoming environment on the app.
“Sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming and further forms of othering such as stigmatization of HIV positive individuals are pervasive problems in the LGBTQ community,” Grindr’s head of communications Landen Zumwalt said in a statement.
“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.”
“Grindr has a new suite of queer leadership – myself included – who share this same mission to take much-needed action, make impactful changes in the app and use Grindr’s enormous power to do good for greater LGBTQ community,” continued Zumwalt.
“Like many of us, I was a user of Grindr before I started working here, so I was already familiar with the racism and issues faced by people of color or non-masculine identifying people on the app,” said Grindr’s chief content officer Zach Stafford.
“I joined Grindr because I saw an opportunity for the company to be a leader and social change agent.”
The new guidelines also include a “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to abusive behaviour, bullying and harassment; those found to be engaging in this behaviour will be banned from the app indefinitely.
“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,” Zumwalt said.
Grindr will still allow users who subscribe to the Xtra service to filter profiles based on ethnicity, weight and body type, however, which has angered some users who see the Kindr campaign as little more than lip service.
“A kinder Grindr…where we talk about racism, but we allow you to filter races,” one user tweeted.
“Here’s two things you could do instead of movies to actually help: 1) remove the ethnicity filter 2) enforce stricter guidelines to prevent (cis) people from using ‘Apache Helicopter’ as a gender option or ‘daddy’ as a pronoun,” another said, referring to users who misuse the ‘Gender’ and ‘Pronoun’ profile settings in a manner which belittles trans and gender diverse folks.
Mathew Rodriguez, a writer at Grindr’s online magazine INTO, responded to a question about the race filter on Twitter saying that “we know internally that the race filter isn’t used that often and people block more often than they do filter.”
Sexual racism is always a topic of heated and complex discussion in the gay community, as covered in a Star Observer feature from last year.
In July, a man said he planned to sue Grindr because it causes distress by allowing phrases like ‘no Asians’ to be used on the app – which will now be removed from profiles.
The Kindr campaign also includes a series of five videos designed to educate users of the app about why the changes have taken place.
Among those featured in the video are RuPaul’s Drag Race alumna The Vixen, comedian Joel Kim Booster – who performed at last year’s Mardi Gras – and original Queer Eye cast member Jai Rodriguez.
You can watch the first video below, and view the updated community guidelines here.