Noted “networking” app Grindr has taken a new step to combat racist and shaming language on user profiles.
This new initiative, known as “Kindr,” kicked off with the first in a series of videos this week. In it, former Queer Eye host Jai Rodriguez leads a chorus of Grindr users describing the racist or shaming rhetoric they’ve encountered while using the app.
“For you to say ‘I know what every Asian guy looks like and I know for a fact that I would not be attracted to any of them…’ Like that comes from a racist place because you don’t know what we all look like. That’s ugly,” observes participant Joel Kim Booster. “Just tell me what you do like.”
Rodriguez adds a plea for empathy: “You don’t know what the person on the other side of the phone is going through. You have no idea what they’re experience is or what else they have going on. Or what that comment might do to them.”
Landen Zumwalt, a Grindr spokesperson, also released a statement further elaborating on the Kindr initiative:
Sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming and further forms of othering such as stigmatization of HIV positive individuals are pervasive problems in the LGBTQ community. These community issues get brought onto our platform, and as a leader in the gay dating space, Grindr has a responsibility to not only protect our users, but also to set the standard for the broader community that we serve. Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks. Our ‘Kindr’ initiative is a rallying call for Grindr and our community to take a stand against sexual racism and all forms of othering.
In the past, users have criticized Grindr for allowing racist, transaphobic or other shaming statements on user profiles. The app claims to have more than 3 million users per day.