Dating App Grindr Says It Will Remove Controversial Ethnicity Filter

Some have criticized the move as a bare minimum gesture, while others argue the filter made it easier for people of color to connect

Grindr
Grindr is removing its ethnicity filter, but not everyone thinks it's the right move.
MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / June 3, 2020 6:00 am

Dating app filters that allow users to sort potential matches by race and ethnicity have long been a subject of controversy. Amid renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the unjust killing of black Americans, LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr has announced it will be removing the controversial filter from its platform in support of the fight against racism.

The app announced the move in a statement on Monday, expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Today we are making donations to the Marsha P Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter and encourage you to do the same, if you can,” Grindr wrote in the statement, which was shared on Twitter. “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.”

In the statement, Grindr announced part of that commitment would include removing the controversial ethnicity filter from its next release.

Grindr also took to Instagram to announce it would be postponing the unveiling of its Pride Month initiative, saying the move “no longer feels appropriate” in light of the recent violence against the black community.

“How can we launch a month of celebration when so many of us are hurting? How can we celebrate Pride without acknowledging that we wouldn’t even HAVE a Pride month if it weren’t for the brave black, brown, trans, and queer folks whose uprising against the police at Stonewall gave birth to the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement?” the Instagram caption read. “It is our responsibility to speak out against the hate and violence that such a vital part of our community continue to face.⁣”

Some have criticized Grindr’s decision to remove the ethnicity filter as a bare minimum gesture, while others expressed disbelief that the app even had the filter to begin with.

Others, however, argued that ethnicity filters can be a useful way for people of color to connect with other members of marginalized communities.

“Many Black people want to be able to search for Black people. Erasing the filter is some colorblind racism,” tweeted one user.

“A lot of people of color want to be able to find other people of color,” echoed another user. “The ethnicity filter isn’t the problem, it’s the pervasive racism that is the problem.”

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