Discrimination and racism have long been issues plaguing users of the gay dating and hook-up app Grindr, and the company now has plans to address the issues QPoC users have faced. Grindr has announced that this September they will be dropping Kindr, a new initiative to tackle “sexual racism.”
In a statement to The Advocate, a Grindr spokesman said this:
“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.
“Our upcoming ‘Kindr’ initiative, which is built around education, awareness and specific policy changes in the Grindr app, will serve as the first step of many Grindr will be taking to help foster a more inclusive and respectful community on our platform.”
The announcement came days after model and activist Munroe Bergdorf posted a series of tweets, calling on the company to address racist and transphobic abuse. “R u white,” one screenshot said. “No cotton pickers,” another said. Bergdorf later posted that she was meeting with Grindr’s head of communications, Landen Zumwalt, and chief content officer Zach Stafford to talk about changes the company can make in addressing these issues.
So what will Kindr be? It’s still a bit unclear whether it’s a new app or a rebrand, but the tagline “It’s time to play nice,” indicates that major changes are coming. It’s a step in the right direction, but as i-D writer Yusuf Tamanna pointed out, it’s part of a larger problem that happens both on and off dating apps.
“Racism and transphobia plague our nightclubs, media outlets and supposed safe public spaces everyday by people from our own community,” Tamanna writes. “It’s just that Grindr (and other apps like it) have become the perfect space for racist white gay men to express their prejudices under the guise of it being just a harmless sexual preference.”
Other Grindr users wondered what affect the company stepping up to tackle these issues will have.
The anticipation builds. Interested in seeing what will become of this. Given the sizable role the app has within the community, stepping up to address some of the systemic community issues is either a bold and brave choice or a foolish one. Here's hoping the former.
— J. Clarence (@OhMyClarence) July 27, 2018