But is it? After all, the gay bar has traditionally been a place where the trans community, despite being somewhat stigmatized and discriminated against, could find partners and hook up. So are we not seeing a virtual version of this on Grindr?
” He thinks that’s different, though. “It’s similar in that it’s clearly people coming into a space that’s for an identity that’s not their own and repurposing it. But it’s different in that straight men looking for trans women aren’t taking over a gay space and consuming it for their own pleasure. Why is it so bad for this to happen? Maybe it stings a bit, but where else are these men and trans women supposed to find each other?”
“No other places that I know of, besides some trans subreddits that post personals ,” says Jeremy. And while OkCupid allow users to list their identity as transgender , there wasn’t an explicitly trans dating app until last year’s disastrous rollout of Transdr , which originally billed itself as a “premier TS dating community for both transgender people and their admirers.” Many found the term “admirers” to be fetishizing. Same for how the dating service was listed in the App Store: “Transdr: TS Dating for Shemale.” (The term “shemale” is highly offensive toward trans women as it implies transgender women are feminized males who act like women.) Within weeks of the app’s launch, many transgender people took to social media to heavily criticize it.
As for Grindr, it attempted to be more inclusive of transgender members in when it added “identity” features in profiles that included options for listing gender and preferred pronouns, which has helped, says Michelle Manley , a dating coach for trans women
A screengrab from designer Kylie Jack shows the app’s official website initially listed Transdr as an app for “transgender, crossdresser people or their admirers. Whether you are a shemale, ladyboy, sissyboy, MTF, FTM or any other trans people, you are welcome to join Transdr.” (While Transdr also declined to comment, a rep told HuffPo last year that such words were used “to improve the search ranking.”) Regardless, language conflating vastly different experiences – like crossdressing or forced feminization fetishes – with being a transgender woman led Jack to wonder if any of the app’s creators were even trans (one was, in fact).
(cw transphobic slurs) oh a trans dating app? cool cool i wonder if the creator is actually trans… oh no who could have seen this coming ?????+? pic.twitter/fuuq11u7N3
“While Grindr is a sex app and not all trans women are looking for sex, the truth is that isolation runs deep in this community so any space where trans women feel like they can find some connection and love is gonna be attractive to them,” she explains.
Perhaps, says Jason Orne , an assistant professor of sociology Drexel University and the author of Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago , in which he refers to straight women invading gay bars as “going on safari
Angel, a 24-year-old trans student I meet on Grindr, says she’s had “lots of success” connecting with bisexual and straight men there. “I first lesbian hookup bars New Orleans look for guys with a handsome face and a career of some sort who respect me.” While she only plays with men who are into women, she’s sympathetic to gay men who may feel excluded. She adds, however, “Grindr is evolving to be more inclusive and basically anyone besides cis women are on here. Men explicitly preferring women isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.”