In my time spent on Grindr, I’ve seen about one in five profiles include lines like “no fatties, no fems, no Asians, no Blacks/Latinos, white only.” Willful ignorance and the normalization of it further spreads the notion that it is OK to be intolerant and hurtful.
I often find that people on Grindr have discriminatory beliefs about their personal, romantic, and sexual preferences. People think it’s OK to discriminate when it comes down to whom they spend their time with (dating or “smashing”). They say it’s merely a preference, but enforced separation of racial groups and communities on the app is simply segregation.
The LGBTQ community prides itself on being diverse and inclusive, so the app that our community spends countless hours on should be also. Respect should be of the utmost importance — especially in the Trump era, when social progress is under attack.
The rare instances of acceptance I find on Grindr are more refreshing than lemonade on a hot summer day. My Grindr profile reads, “If you use the word ‘preference’ to cover your racism or ‘masc’ to cover your homophobia, we’re probably not a match.” I encourage others to write the same on their profiles if they want to promote tolerance and diversity. I get responses to my profile saying that what I say rings true. I point out racist or intolerant profile text and gently explain to the people how their profile is hurting the LGBTQI community.
In the LGBTQI community (at least in big and diverse cities) there is so much choice in sexual partners on Grindr that people start to view mates as objects rather than people with actual feelings. Have you ever been rejected or shamed for hitting someone up because of your race, weight, nationality, age or femininity? I have seen it too many times.
Exhibit A, B, C, D (Via DoucheBagsofGrindr.com):
It’s difficult for many to see the fine line between a "preference" and blatant discrimination. One might argue that getting together only with people of a certain ethnicity is a legitimate sexual preference. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What has led some in our community to believe it's OK to discriminate against a certain skin color when seeking fulfillment of sexual and romantic desires?
Nobody is born thinking certain ethnicities are unattractive — it's learned. You simply cannot say “I could never fall in love with blacks; they just aren’t my type” without sounding biased and idiotic — have you met every black person on earth? Hunting for an ideal sexual partner becomes unhealthy when people are cherry-picked for the sole purpose of fulfilling an unrealistic and intolerant fantasy.
"People who make it a point to state that they have racial preferences ... need to examine some of the biases they have that lead to what they call those preferences," Kevin Nadal of the City University of New York's Center for LGBTQ Studies told Mic,
Freedom of speech does not justify racism, sexism, and homophobia. Grindr and other dating apps need moderation to eliminate this discrimination online. We also need to step up and be kind, caring, and gentle, Let’s use the most popular gay app to convey a clear message — respect.
LENNY GERARD is the branded content producer for Here Media, parent company of The Advocate.