Transgender people using Tinder are reporting on social media that they've been banned from using the dating app because of their gender identity.
Business Insider first reported on the issue, and summarized the company's explanation for why trans users might find themselves reported or banned: "There's potential for users to be wrongfully banned, and the app doesn't provide a way for transgender people to avoid being matched with people who might report them."
Tinder allows users to self-police one another by giving them the ability to report users for inappropriate behavior. The categories under which reports can be filed include "inappropriate messages," "inappropriate photos," "bad offline behavior," "feels like spam," and "other."
There is no specific option to report a user for being trans, so complainants would presumably have to select "other," then type in an explanation for their report, BI notes.
"Each banned account is individually assessed," Tinder officials said in a statement. "If we find that a user has been wrongfully banned, then we unban their account. This includes instances when transgender users are reported by others, but haven't violated any of our community standards."
The problem is that after Tinder lifts a user's ban, they can be reported again by other — or even the same — users. There is no system in place to prevent someone from being "wrongfully banned," which results in an environment where trans people can, and reportedly are, being repeatedly banned.
Molly McGlone, a Twitter user, reported multiple occurences when she was banned from the app, she believes, for being transgender.
— Molly McGlone (@mollymcglone11) April 29, 2015
— Molly McGlone (@mollymcglone11) April 28, 2015
Tumblr users reported the same issue:
Sol Solomon, a 20-year-old trans woman, told BI that she matched with a male user, and shortly thereafter, her account was banned. She believes the man took a deeper look at her profile after being matched, learned that the college student was a trans woman, and reported her.
"I matched with a dude right before I got on a subway, and as I climbed out of the subway to go to work, I discovered that the app was missing [from my phone] and I had been reported," Solomon told BI. "I have my pronouns [she/her/hers] on my Tinder, so I assumed he was just being transphobic. Right after he matched me, I was reported, which is why I would assume the connection happened."
Tinder pulls information and photos from a user's Facebook profile, but it doesn't pull any of the 58 gender identity options that Facebook provides its users. Tinder only has two gender options — male or female. Users can decide which gender they are matched with, or opt to be presented with users of both genders.
"The system currently does not permit users to be more specific than 'male' or 'female' when selecting gender and is similarly limited in discovery preferences," Rosette Pambakian, Tinder's vice president for corporate communications told Mic in an email. "Unfortunately, this can lead to some users reporting other users when they unexpectedly appear in their recommendations."
McGlone, the Twitter user who reported being banned, was told that she was "misleading" potential suitors by another user on Twitter.
@mollymcglone11 That's because you're being misleading on a straight dating app.
— Ryan McMillan (@Rmcmill2) June 4, 2015
Solomon told BI that other Tinder users frequently lodged the same complaint against her. "Often the comments are filled with trans-misogyny and homophobia, " said Solomon. "I got two messages the other day from some person saying, 'Well you're very misleading.'"