Tinder, as a place where men notoriously auto-swipe to increase their chances and bombard women with messages that are far from tasteful, has a reputation for embodying the worst of heteronormativity. But the company is making a major change that will make it a far safer and more inclusive space.
This morning, Tinder announced it’s adding 37 new genders, and giving users the opportunity to customize their gender, in order to make the dating app more inclusive for those who identify as trans or gender non-conforming. The new options vary greatly and include genders like androgynous, gender fluid, pangender, non-binary, transgender person, trans man and trans woman.
“We had received a lot of user feedback on how Tinder wasn’t providing the best experience for our community of transgender and gender non-conforming users. It was time for us to start fixing that,” Tinder CEO Sean Rad told the Observer. “For the past five plus months, we have been finding the right partners (like GLAAD and Andrea James), talking to our users through focus groups and working with our product team to develop an update that makes Tinder more inclusive.”
Rad said his team started working on this update long before the election, but following it they believe more than ever that they have a responsibility as a global platform to send a clear message about the importance of inclusivity, acceptance and equality.
“The tone of this election made us really think about what conversations are appropriate on and off our platform,” he said. “‘Locker room talk’ is not acceptable on or off Tinder. Harassment of any type—toward transgender users or otherwise— will not be tolerated. And we will be rolling out more features to address this. ”
With the update, a user can add more information by tapping “I am” in their profiles and selecting “more” to choose from one of the new suggested gender options or type in their own. They can also choose to add the information on their gender identity to their profiles, which makes it visible to other users and not just used for the the suggestions algorithm. Here’s the full list of the new gender options:
- Female to Male
- Gender Fluid
- Gender Nonconforming
- Gender Questioning
- Gender Variant
- Male to Female
- Trans Man
- Trans Person
- Trans Woman
- Transgender Female
- Transgender Male
- Transgender Man
- Transgender Person
- Transgender Woman
- Transsexual Female
- Transsexual Male
- Transsexual Man
- Transsexual Person
- Transsexual Woman
Tinder has also added a “Show Me” screen to let the community know some users have included more information about their gender identities. Off the app, Tinder has also allocated additional resources to their support team and have educated them on the challenges facing the transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
Zackary Drucker, producer of the Amazon show Transparent, said Tinder is setting a responsible example of inclusion that is great affirmation for the trans community
“I’m thrilled that Tinder is moving with the times and expanding their gender options to include more people,” she told the Observer. “Progress is inevitable, and I think that mobilizing humanity around love, is the only antidote to the fear and uncertainty that people are feeling right now. I see people connecting all around me, strangers on the street with an openness that didn’t exist a week ago. Trans people are a part of society and I’m consistently impressed with people’s openness to us once familiar with our stories.”
Drucker also thinks the initiative will promote inclusivity beyond the platform.
“For a community that has always existed hidden in plain site, we’ve been blessed with a wave of visibility over the past few years; thanks to emerging trans public figures working in entertainment, media, advocacy, and activism,” she said. “Tinder’s mission to include all people will have far-reaching benefits for the mainstream’s understanding of difference. This is a critical time for us to embrace our differences, and the trans community is looking for allies.”