North Texas Daily

Tinder’s new gender options are a big deal

Tinder’s new gender options are a big deal

Tinder’s new gender options are a big deal
November 24
18:37 2016

The ultra-popular dating app, Tinder, just got a major upgrade. The company announced last week that the app will feature over 40 options, including transgender and gender non-conforming, that users can choose to display on their profiles.

For many people in the LGBTQ community, this is a sigh of relief. Ever since the end of the election, there has been fear of how the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will treat them. While Trump has said he doesn’t plan on attacking the legality of gay marriage, there are still many more issues at hand. Right now, Tinder’s new options are a small triumph for the gay community.

Tinder said the company has been working on these changes for seven months. The company worked with activists Andrea James and Nick Adams, as well as many entertainers from the show “Transparent.” Their combined efforts created an update which the company hopes will make easier and safer for LGBTQ individuals to find love.

The update was necessary, as many transgender individuals have been blocked or harassed on the app. Many users would block a transgender person for “lying” about who they were, or verbally harassed the users, asking inappropriate personal questions to identify their genders.

Instead of having to find ways around the app to truly feel at home, users can now express who they are with a click of a button. Recognizing people as the gender they identify with is a major step in making transgender or gender non-conforming people feel safe throughout their lives. It’s important to say, “We recognize you as who you are, and you’re safe and respected here.”

Although the update is a blessing for some, it could be a curse for others. A flaw in its geolocation services allowed programmers to get users’ exact locations for most of 2013. Although the flaw was fixed in 2014, its existence in general is enough of a reason to make some users wary.

Just last year, an armed gang in London used similar flaws in dating app Grindr to target and rob men at gunpoint.

Stalking tends to be an issue with apps that use geolocation. If a user decides to share that they are transgender on their Tinder profile, they do so knowing it might put a target on their back.

In June, the New York Times reported that LGBTQ people are more likely to be victims of bias attacks than any other minority group. Transgender women are almost two times more likely to experience sexual violence, according to the Anti-Violence Project.

So, it might seem like it’s not that big of a deal for Tinder to expand its gender choices past “man” and “woman,” but once you understand the gravity of telling strangers that you’re transgender or gender non-conforming, it’s actually a very big deal.

In addition, Tinder allows users to write in their own gender, instead of having to pick from one of the pre-determined options. It is one small difference that Tinder is making in hopes of being a more inclusive app. Soon, everyone will be thankful for it.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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