Tinder Launches New Safety Feature for LGBTQ Travelers

  • Tuesday, August 13 2019 @ 08:13 am
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Tinder Travel Alert Screen Capture
Image: Tinder

Tinder has announced a new safety feature for those in the LGBTQ community who are traveling abroad.

The new “Traveler Alert” feature allows users to hide their profiles on the app when they feel unsafe traveling in countries and regions that criminalize same-sex acts, according to website Lifehacker. International travelers are subject to the laws of other countries, so it puts LGBTQ folks especially at risk. There are currently 69 countries that persecute same-sex acts, and nine of these allow the death penalty to be imposed, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Tinder’s website stated: “It’s important to exercise extra caution if you choose to connect with new people in these countries - as some law enforcement have been known to use dating apps as tools for potential entrapment. Some countries have also recently introduced laws that criminalize communications between individuals on same-sex dating applications or websites and even aggravate penalties if that communication leads to sexual encounters.”

The new feature works with “Passport,” another feature which allows Tinder users to date people in other cities. Traveler Alert scans the region where you are currently located and sends an alert if it’s an unsafe place. If you’re browsing Tinder at home, the feature can also determine if you are trying to match with someone in a flagged region. When you receive the alert, you have the choice to hide your profile.

If you are abroad and choose not to hide your profile after receiving the alert, Tinder will automatically remove your gender and sexual orientation from your profile until you leave the country.

Tinder has been updating its app to be more inclusive of all daters. Currently, Tinder offers dozens of gender identities and up to three of nine total sexual orientation options. Many countries unfortunately are hostile to the LGBTQ community, and Tinder wanted to find a way to address the problem, especially as the app expands its reach in other countries.

“As our team discussed the ability to add your orientation to your profile and display it, the conversation quickly shifted to focus on how this could put users in some areas at risk. Before rolling out Orientations more widely, we wanted to build an update to address this and work with the experts to do so,” Tinder CEO Elie Seidman said in a statement.

The app update was developed in collaboration with the ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association). Tinder advised its users to visit ILGA World to see the latest sexual orientation laws by country.