Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

Juno Dawson on using Grindr and Tinder as a trans woman: ‘There’s a helpful functionality’

Exclusive: Author will be hosting dating and relationships discussion at this week’s National Student Pride

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: National Student Pride/Aaron Hargreaves

Juno Dawson has described her experiences of using Grindr and Tinder as a trans woman, saying both have a “helpful functionality” when it comes to how trans users are protected.

The writer will further discuss themes of dating and relationships while chairing National Student Pride’s Trans+ Education: Panel Discussion, airing at 7pm tonight.

Speaking to Attitude backstage, Juno – who is engaged to Max Gallant – added that it was only “when I truly became myself that I was really able to find love.”

“This is a really big discussion”

“I’ve only used Grindr and Tinder,” the What’s The T? writer said. “I known Tinder is a slightly different kettle of fish as it already has men and women on, and you expect it to.

“This is a really big discussion, and it feels like Grindr and Scruff are a little bit damned if they do and damned if they don’t in terms of allowing you to filter your tribe. Of course, I’ve very elegantly heard it argued that that is very inherently racist: ‘Oh, I’m not into Black guys, I’m not into Asian guys’ is really problematic. But as a trans woman, it did help me that I could just find men who were using Grindr to find trans women. That, practically, was helpful. That filter exists on both Grindr and Tinder – I don’t know about Scruff, as I didn’t use it.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Juno Dawson (@junodawson)

“So all I’d see on Grindr was other trans people, and people looking to date trans people. So it was a helpful functionality, and it feels like we have been considered. You’ve still got the occasional person saying ‘Why are you on this site, it’s a site for men,’ but I don’t know what their rules are around reporting abuse. That’s something all the dating apps need to think about: handling abuse.”

Asked for her dating tips, the actress said: “I think what I learned through transitioning, and especially as trans people are held with so little regard in society, was that it was only when I truly became myself that I was really able to find love.

Juno and other panellists at Student Pride in London today (Picture: National Student Pride/Aaron Hargreaves)

“During my 20s I was working really hard on passing as a guy, and trying to convince other guys that I was a guy, and failing miserably. I felt very bad about myself. Whereas as soon as I was able to present myself as Juno – for better or worse, this is me. Like it or lump it. And I think there’s a message there for everyone, cis or trans, which is be the most you version of you. Because when someone falls in love with you, you want them to fall in love with the good bits and the bad bits.

“I see that in young kids who are gender-queer and gender-fluid, drag queens at 19, how amazing seeing those toxic parts of masculinity starting to drop away, and people can be who they are and identify however they identify.”

Juno also spoke about yesterday’s news that the Charity Commission has confirmed registration of the LGB Alliance.

“It’s really disappointing,” she said. “I genuinely can’t understand what that group is doing to help gay, lesbian and bi people. Not least because some trans people are lesbian, gay or bi! I can’t get my head around it. I’m yet to see what it is they’re doing. Charities should help. But all I’m see is LGB Alliance making fun of trans people on social media. In my mind that is something the Charity Commission should have run a mile from.”

For more information about National Student Pride 2021, click here.

The Attitude May issue is out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.