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Grindr ‘to remove ethnicity filter’ following criticism

The gay hook-up app will remove the discriminatory technology in its next update.

By Will Stroude

Grindr has announced it plans to remove the ethnicity filter from the app, following years of criticism.

The gay and bisexual dating and hook-up app shared a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Monday (1 June), declaring it had a “a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech” and confirming that technology allowing users to filter others by enthnicity would be removed in the app’s next update.

The move comes as anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Flloyd at the hands of US police continue into a second week, and after an initial message of solidairty with Black Lives Matter from Grindr had been criticised in a viral tweet highlighting its continued use of race filters.

In a follow-up statement, Grinder said: “We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of color who log on to our app every day”.

“We will not be silent, and we will not be inactive. Today we are making donations to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter, and urge you to do the same if you can.

“We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform.

“As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”

Racist language and behaviour has long been rife on Grindr, where discrimination is often wrapped in the language of ‘sexual preference’.

While many welcome the end of race filters on the app, some queer people of colour expressed disappointment at the move, citing it as a tool to filter potential racists from their own feeds and to help them connect with others from similar backgrounds.

Grindr is not the only LGBTQ dating and hook-up app to use ethnicity filters, but the move may mark a sea-change when it comes to turning conversations about racism in the LGBTQ community to action.