Dating Tribes: Helpful or a Hindrance?

By Justin Hernandez

Originally published on Advocate.com February 25 2014 1:46 PM ET

Somewhere within its last few updates, Grindr introduced a new feature that allows users to self-identify on profiles. With the addition of “Grindr Tribes,” members of the gay networking app now have the ability to classify themselves under 12 categories: Bear, Clean-Cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans, and Twink.

With last year's relaunch of Gay.com (from Here Media), users had already been doing the same with a function called "communities." On Gay.com, users can pick as many communities as they want. On Grindr, members can list as many as three tribes on their profiles, so if a man considers himself to be a clean-cut leather otter, all three groups can be selected.

Users can also choose not to self-identify with any tribe at all. In fact, based on my observations it seems there are more profiles that don’t have a Grindr Tribe listed than ones that do. For functionality purposes, it would appear that this is something to assist members with narrowing down search results — as if age, height, weight, body type, and ethnicity didn’t provide enough filtering options.

In the interest of research, I decided to engage with some Grindr members through the app to find out what they thought of these groups. (There’s no end to what I’ll do to get to the bottom of a story — no pun intended.) I got a mixed bag of responses, so I decided to list the most interesting ones below. 

"It’s good. It weeds out guys you wouldn’t be interested in."

"I think it’s silly and rarely use it. If there was a feature to associate another user through matches (similar to what Scruff has) I would like that."

"They need more … bisexual is not there."

"I like all different types, so a feature like this doesn’t help. If anything, it’s just another way for guys to filter each other out just based on appearance."

"I think it’s a great feature that helps a lot when one is looking for a specific kind of guy, not just anyone."

"A little closed-minded and doesn’t depict the many individuals who don’t fit into that 'role.'"

"I never really paid it any thought. I think it’s sort of irrelevant since people hit you up if they like your photo."

"It’s a novelty. Although it’s fun to give people more ways of identifying themselves."

"I don’t really care. Guys don’t read profiles anyway."

What are your thoughts on the Grindr Tribes? Post them in the comments.


JUSTIN HERNANDEZ writes about sex, dating, and relationships for The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @HernandezJustin.