Grindr, the hookup app for men who have sex with men, rolled out a new update last week, expanding their "gender" category and inviting a wider array of users. Options for gender now include "cis man," "trans man," "cis woman," "trans woman," "non-binary," "non-conforming," "queer," and "crossdresser," as well custom categories you can make up yourself.
The update also includes space to designate your pronouns (he/him/hers, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs). There was no option for our preferred pronoun, the royal we, but, luckily, there's space for custom pronouns as well.
The update, according to the company, is part of an effort to be more inclusive of trans users. “One thing we heard over and over again from trans people using Grindr was that they felt unwelcome as other users would often only want to ask them about what it means to be trans or approached without knowing how to speak respectfully about trans issues,” Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr for Equality, told Newsweek. “That’s why we created written resources linked from the gender identity fields in the profile to answer users’ questions and decrease that burden on trans people.”
To find out how gay men feel about the update, we attempted to survey every user within 500 feet of our location, and the reviews were mixed: While no one expressed hesitation about trans people on Grindr (one said he's chatted with trans men before but "nothing ever developed because we were always both bottoms"), most users seemed less than thrilled about women invading their space.
One user told us he's concerned women will take up valuable real estate (unpaid users can only see a limited number of profiles, and at this point there is no way to filter out some demographics from your feed). Another said, "This is not the place for straight cis women for find a gay best friend or to 'get away from straight guys' or to ogle and gawk." Another said, "I like to keep my sex life separate from my work life, so the idea that the professional women I work with can log on and see my leather and fetish interests makes me not want to use Grindr anymore." (This user adds that "putting up a faceless profile and sending flirtatious messages to guys who assume you're a guy is a dick move.")
For women seeking women, there are apps out there specifically for you, but they tend to be dead zones, even in dykey cities like Seattle. Maybe it's poor marketing—one now-defunct app for queer women was called BRENDA, which sounds more like a gym teacher than a hookup site—or maybe women are just less interested in having sex with anonymous strangers than men are? Either way, ladies, if you're going to join Grindr, feel free to look at the dicks, but try not to act like one.