Tinder Adds Safety Feature for LGBTQ Travelers in Countries With Discriminatory Laws

Jul 26, 2019

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Tinder is adding a new safety feature for LGBTQ users travelling or living in countries with discriminatory, anti-gay laws. The ‘Traveler Alert’ will be accessible on iOS and Android phones in about 70 countries worldwide that have legislation outlawing or criminalizing LGBTQ people.

The dating app collaborated with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) to compile a list of places that qualify for the travel advisory safety feature. The list includes South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Nigeria and more.

Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit organization that specializes in helping LGBTQ people escape oppressive, discriminatory regimes, saluted the development.

“This step Tinder is taking is a positive move forward to ensure the safety of LGBTQI travellers visiting countries with laws that criminalize sexual and gender minorities”, Andrea Houston, communications and development officer at Rainbow Railroad, said in an email. “It also highlights the lived reality of LGBTQI people in these countries, and how many are forced to live in daily fear of being outed, arrested, attacked or killed. By alerting people of the dangers, Tinder is helping to spread awareness to the broader LGBTQI communities and allies of the global movement to expand human rights protections and repeal colonial anti-gay laws in around 70 countries, and 11 that can impose the death penalty”.

The new Tinder safety feature basically offers a safeguard for LGBTQ users by automatically hiding their sexual preference when they open the app in one of these countries. Users will also receive an alert upon opening the app that says:

“Based on your geographical location, it appears you’re n a place where the LGBTQ community might be penalized. We want you to have fun, but your safety is our #1 priority. Please proceed with extra caution and take extra care when making new matches and meeting with people you do not know.” There’s also a ‘more info’ option on the advisory, which will send users to a page of ILGA’s resources on sexual orientation laws.

After that, it’s up to the user to decide whether they want to keep their profile invisible in that country or go public. If they do decide to go public, then their sexual preference and gender identity will remain hidden until they’ve left that location. Tinder says that they will update the advisory accordingly if legislation in the area changes.

Rainbow Railroad provides everything from airfare to resources to financial support for people seeking asylum in safer countries. So far Rainbow Railroad has brought over 600 people to safety, and so far in 2019 it has received more than 1,300 requests for help.

Featured image by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

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