Scroll To Top

How One Gay App Is Fighting Racist Body-Shamers


The cofounders of Chappy saw a disturbing trend in hookup and dating apps -- now they're requiring their users to take a nondiscriminatory pledge.

Bullying is not foreign to me. I have experienced it, and I have witnessed countless individuals be subjected to its mistreatment. While developing Chappy with my cofounders, it became even more apparent to me that prejudiced behavior is very common in the most popular dating apps. We gained even more insight on this matter after conducting our own survey, revealing that over half of guys had witnessed or experienced racism, body-shaming, or general abuse on dating apps.

In this era of online dating, we are accustomed to the instant gratification of swiping left or tapping for likes. While these platforms have given us a convenient space to date and connect, they have also provided a breeding ground for bullies. This in turn has created a trend where hurtful language and attitudes are frequently used (and accepted). This troll-like behavior has been increasing at an alarming rate, revealing rampant underlying racism, ageism, size, and weight-shaming.

Before I launched Chappy, traditional dating apps were a world that I did not want to be a part of, purely because I knew I would be confronted with negative and judgmental comments. Things like "no fats, no fems, and no Asians" were visible on dating profiles, and as if this made things any better, it would conclude with "I am not racist, it's just a preference." I have come across numerous profiles that made me feel very uncomfortable. I saw people saying things they may not even have realized could offend others. Our incredibly progressive community is pulled backwards in time by anonymous platforms that provide spaces for actions and language that would never be deemed acceptable in real life. The bottom line is that people were not being respectful on dating apps, and we wanted to get in front of the issue and address it head on.

The answer for us was creating "The Pledge" -- a way for us to ensure that Chappy did not become another platform with acceptable discriminatory behavior or language. After brainstorming with our team, we developed the thought-provoking question of "Why be a dick to someone when you could just swipe left?" From there, The Pledge was born, and further established Chappy as a safe community for dating.

The Chappy Pledge is a declaration that every user must accept before creating their profile. They promise that they will be courteous about others' feelings and refrain from bias and isolating behavior. By using Chappy, our users commit to treating their fellow members with respect, kindness, and honesty. We care about our community and want users to enjoy a judgment-free platform that allows them to make meaningful connections.

We are actively doing what we can to eliminate all "isms" on our platform. Ageism, fatism, racism -- all of them. I accept that we may never completely eradicate prejudice from within the gay community; however I want to make sure that as a brand we take steps towards protecting people from having to even see profiles with "preferences." I believe that this type of language is inherently discriminatory, and there is no place for such conduct on Chappy. Due to this we have banned all racial preferences within users profiles, even those that may be deemed positive.

Chappy's "Don't Be a D!ck" campaign is so deeply encouraging, and a welcoming first step towards making dating apps safe. The campaign is about taking a stance -- not just in the dating community for gay men, but also in the dating community for all. I hope the world will join us by taking The Pledge so that we can all love dating again.

OLLIE LOCKE and JACK ROGERS are the cofounders of Chappy, a gay dating app.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Ollie Locke and Jack Rogers