September 16, 2020
The social media company Grindr launched a new initiative this week to combat different forms of discrimination experienced by users of its popular gay dating app, which boasts 3.8 million users daily. Titled “Kindr,” the new initiative will tackle issues such as sexual racism, transphobia, and fat shaming through a combination of new community guidelines, stricter enforcement policies and a series of awareness-raising videos. The first video of the series was published Tuesday and has nearly 100,000 views.
“Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks,” Landen Zumwalt, head of communications at Grindr, said in a statement. “Our ‘Kindr’ initiative is a rallying call for Grindr and our community to take a stand against sexual racism and all forms of othering.”
Reaction to the campaign has been divided, with many on social media praising Grindr for taking a stand on the issue of discrimination and online bullying, while others have questioned whether the new effort will be effective.
Grindr’s new Kindr campaign is giving me life. a sincere thank you from the gay community for doing this.
— Graem Askins (@graemcracker) September 19, 2018
LaGarde said for real change to happen, a broader cultural shift will have to take place within the LGBTQ community first. “The serious work that needs to be done has to be taken on by the various different communities across the nation,” he explained.
“Where I live the way that people use Grindr, the way that they interact with it, it will take a long time for the kindness to actually seep in,” he said. “I think the part that I keep coming back to is I know what I’ve experienced in my own community, and nobody is here to play nice. They’re here just to have sex.”
“I think [the campaign] is a good shot; it’s a good try, because somebody was thinking through it,” Herevia said. “The cynical part of me is saying that we’re not actually teaching people anything.”
“Any thoughtful attempt to address racism in the community is good, it’s a good attempt forward,” Bishop said.
Per the new community guidelines, Grindr will have a zero tolerance for discrimination, harassment and abusive behavior on the app, and “anyone found bullying, threatening, or defaming another user will be banned.” Notably, any “profile language that is used to openly discriminate against other users’ traits and characteristics will not be tolerated and will be subject to review” by Grindr’s moderation team.
In the past, phrases such as “No fats, no femmes, no Asians” could be found on user profiles of the app.
Bishop anticipates there will be some pushback to the stricter community guidelines, but likens the guidelines to a bartender at a bar, who has the ability to ask a patron to leave if they are creating a hostile environment.
“[If ] someone is coming into the bar and being transphobic towards people, bartenders can be like, ‘Hey person, you got to leave, you can’t be here. We don’t stand for that,’” Bishop said.
This article was first published here.