Dating and hook-up app Grindr has teased an update called ‘kindr’ designed to address the racism, prejudice and abuse that is often rife on the app.
Due to be released in mid-September, little is known about ‘kindr’ at this stage beyond a few hints the app has dropped on social media.
The video features voiceover discussing the topic of sexual racism, a subject which is being increasingly brought to the fore by the app’s non-white users.
The post also links to a website – kindr.grindr.com – hinting at the update.
In a recent Instagram post, Bergdorf said the company “has the resources and potential to become something positive and inclusive for the LGBTQ community in the future.”
“I just hope they make the necessary changes to do so,” she wrote.
She also began posting a series of screenshot conversations sent to her by followers documenting their experiences of racism on the app.
One user’s screenshot showed they had been sent the words, “No cotton pickers.”
Bergdorf then said that she had been contacted to meet with the company’s head of communications, Landen Zumwalt, and its chief content officer Zach Stafford, who is responsible for the app’s online magazine Into.
“This is an initiative I have been leading, alongside our chief content officer Zach Stafford, since I joined Grindr this past June.
“I came to Grindr because I knew we could and should be doing more to protect our users and positively impact the greater LGBTQ+ community,” Zumwalt said.
Users responded to the ‘kindr’ teaser with a fair amount of scepticism.
“I don’t care for these types of apps. With that being said, realistically how is this going to avoid sexual racism?” drag queen Phaedra Phaded responded.
“It still exists and will be practiced by those who are sexually racist. It’s a cute idea but I hope it’s bigger than banning someone who says sexually racist things.”
“Hopefully in addition to racial bigotry this also helps tackle that whole ‘masc4masc no femmes’ shit. There’s a lot of misogyny manifesting as homophobia in the gay community too,” another said.
But one user thinks that Grindr won’t really be able to change, tweeting that if you’re non-white, don’t fit a certain body type, or not sufficiently masculine, encountering abuse will “still be a problem no matter how you change the app.”
Not everyone was happy about it though, as someone protested, saying “‘Preference’ is the right term!!! Grindr did you loose some screws or something?”
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.
Meanwhile, earlier this month a man said he planned to sue Grindr because it causes distress by allowing phrases like ‘no Asians’ to be used on the app.
The company plans to announce the full suite of changes in early September.