Tinder Adds Feature to Keep LGBTQ+ Travelers Safe
While in the Western world, LGBTQ+ causes have gained a lot of traction and social support, the same cannot be said for many other nations of the world. With countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia still having the death penalty for those engaging in consensual same-sex activities — and the tiny nation of Brunei having recently brought back public stonings for those convicted of the same behavior — it can be a dangerous world for gay, lesbian and trans individuals looking for love.
Beginning on July 24, popular dating and hookup app Tinder will be adding a new feature, Traveler Alert, to their service, exclusively designed to protect members of marginalized communities as they travel abroad. The Tinder Travel Alert targets about 70 countries which currently criminalize or otherwise strongly discourage LGBTQ+ status and will allow users to appear invisible on the app while traveling through these nations. You do have the option to dismiss this invisibility feature and appear available to other local Tinder users in these areas, but this may not be advisable in all cases.
Beyond that, the Tinder Travel Alert will automatically obscure sexual orientation details and gender identity details of LGBTQ+ individuals for as long as they are located within the borders of an unfriendly country. As soon as those users return home — or to a safer, more accepting progressive nation — the app will turn off automatic hiding of their information.
Tinder makes it clear that it can be dangerous to disclose alternative sexualities or gender expressions in many places around the world and that local police are often looking to persecute members of these communities.
According to Tinder’s Safety Tips “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.”
Tinder has partnered closely with ILGA – or the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – in order to determine which countries were considered unsafe or unfriendly to the LGBTQ+ community for the app’s purposes. The data is largely drawn from the most recent IGLA State-Sponsored Homophobia report.
“We fundamentally believe that everyone should be able to love who they want to love – and we strive to reflect this in everything we do at Tinder. It is unthinkable that, in 2019, there are still countries with legislation in place that deprives people of this basic right,” said Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder in a press release. “We serve all communities – no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation – and we are proud to offer features that help keep them safe. This alert is an example of the many steps that we are taking to protect our users around the world.”
This latest Tinder functionality joins a host of other initiatives designed to aid the LGBTQ+ community. The world’s largest hookup network recently sponsored a dating survey spanning the preferences and attitudes of those members self-identifying as LGBTQ+, and also launched a high-profile Sexual Orientation feature to make meeting people easier.
On a more lighthearted note, one most recent show of support for the gay, lesbian, trans, and questioning community came from Tinder in the form of the “Pride Slide” – a 30-foot rainbow-hued slide placed in the heart of New York City this June.
Riding the slide cost onlookers $10, and all proceeds were donated to help pass the congressional Equality Act.