Contributed by: ElyseRomano Thursday, December 08 2016 @ 01:30 pm
Since Tinder launched in 2012, new users have been given two options to describe themselves: male or female. For much of the population, the decision was easy. But for a significant portion, those two words posed a problem.
Transgender and gender non-conforming Tinder users had no way to accurately identify, and many experienced harassment as a result. When news of their troubling experiences reached company CEO Sean Rad, he decided the app was in need of an update.
New Tinder users are now presented with three options: 'male,' 'female,' and 'more.' Selecting 'more' reveals dozens of new terms members can use to describe their identity. The company partnered with media advocacy organization GLAAD to develop a list of nearly 40 auto-fill suggestions. Users can also type in their own perferred terms.
A company blog post announcing the update said: “Every new person in your life expands your horizons in some way. Inclusion and acceptance drive this expansion, and we want Tinder to reflect the world that surrounds us every day.”
“We haven’t had the right tools to serve our diverse community in the past, but that changes today,” the post continued. “In addition to this new feature, we are learning to be a better ally to transgender and gender non-conforming communities by allocating additional resources to our support team, which includes educating our staff about the challenges facing these communities.”
Two other progressive changes are coming along with the expanded identity options. Users now have the ability to display their gender “front and center” (as Rad puts it) on their profiles. They can also choose whether they prefer to show up in results for women or for men. Tinder says it will welcome back users who left due to harassment, as well as any users who were wrongly banned in the past after their profiles were flagged as fake.
“It’s important for a major company like Tinder, which has tens of millions of users around the world, to send this message that transgender people are welcome on the platform,” GLAAD’s Nick Adams told Time[*1] . “Transgender people are part of the fabric of our American culture. They are part of your dating pool. And that is just the modern world in which we live.”
Reaction to the news has largely been positive, but it's not without its critics. Some have pointed out that the update doesn’t stop you from being matched with users who aren't interested in transgender or gender non-conforming partners. Others say they fear more targeted abuse if their identity is clearly displayed.
Now that Tinder has taken this giant step towards inclusivity, its next task is to refine. The company should make an effort to examine how these communities use and experience the app in order to offer the safest and most effective user experience possible. For more information on this dating app, check out our review of Tinder.