Gay dating app Grindr has received negative backlash in the past over the amount of discriminatory language and abuse that is unfortunately hosted on the app.
An enormous amount of users have spoken out about various instances of racism, ageism, body-shaming, stigmatisation of HIV-positive men, and many other forms of discrimination. Examples range from men including stipulations such as 'no fats, no femmes, no Asians' in their bios, to some men sending non-white users messages that include slurs, inappropriate "jokes" and comments, and even threats.
An online manifestation of discrimination that is prevalant within the LGBTQ+ community on a far larger scale, Grindr has decided to shine a light on it, bringing awareness of the issue to those who may not realise how widespread it actually is.
The dating app has released a new video series called 'What the Flip', where two gay men of different backgrounds swap profiles so they can see the treatment the other receives on a regular basis.
The vice-president of marketing at Grindr, Peter Sloterdyk, told the Huffington Post, "We decided to focus Grindr’s first ever web series on the issues of racism, ageism, and other related issues because it’s highly relatable to anyone who dates online. Our hope is to raise awareness around the problems modern gay men face online and in real life and be a part of the discourse that works to create more tolerance and empathy for diversity in the online dating world.”
The first video in the series shows a white gay man and an Asian gay man swapping profiles, and the results are eye-opening.
The white user explains to host Billy Francesca that he received far less interest as an Asian man, and ended up having to ask race-related questions like 'Are you into Asians?' to get responses. He also came across the term 'rice queen' for the first time (a terms used on gay dating apps to describe a gay man who fetishises Asian men), and learned that sexual stereotypes were associated with the term. He also receives a racist slur after not messaging one person back fast enough.
The Asian user was amazed by the amount of interest white men receive on the app, and said he couldn't keep up with the amount of messages. He also says he was receiving NSFW (Not Safe for Work) images from men far earlier in the conversation than he does when he's using his own profile. He received no vitriol, slurs, or abuse.
You can watch the the first episode of Grindr's fortnightly show 'What the Flip?' below: