Tinder has taken new steps to protect it's LGBTQ+ users from prejudice abroad with a feature designed for safe travel.
Despite the fact that more countries are making vital strides towards equality worldwide for the LGBTQ+ community, there are still 70 countries that persecute individuals for sexual orientation and gender identity.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) has said that there are 69 UN member states where same-sex sexual activity is criminalised.
Thankfully, Tinder is putting this prejudice at the forefront of people's minds by taking steps to ensure the safety of its LGBTQ+ users when travelling.
The dating app announced that LGBTQ+ users will receive an alert when entering a country which has discriminatory laws.
Tinder refers to the feature as 'Traveller Alert' in a new blog post explaining their latest technological advance.
— editorji (@editorji) July 26, 2019
“It’s no secret that we believe everyone has the right to live how they want to live and love who they want to love.
"And while there are still efforts to protect our freedoms from LGBTQ+ discrimination, it’s important to remember that there are still nearly 70 countries around the world that have laws effectively criminalising LGBTQ+ status."
A notification will appear warning users of the sexual orientation laws in their current location and the risks they may face for expressing their orientation openly.
“Starting today, we’re rolling out a Traveller Alert that will appear when Tinder is opened in one of these locations to ensure that our users are aware of the potential dangers the LGBTQ community faces – so that they can take extra caution and do not unknowingly place themselves in danger for simply being themselves,” the post adds.
LGBTQ+ users can then choose whether to leave their Tinder profile public or not in a nation which is volatile towards gay people.
Their sexual orientation or gender identity won’t be public information until they’ve left the country.
#Tinder's new safety feature sources data from our latest State-Sponsored Homophobia report to help establish where alerts should be deployed.
"The safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety”, @Adup76 said.https://t.co/QKIylOADiU
— ILGA World (@ILGAWORLD) July 24, 2019
“Based on your geographical area, it appears you’re in a place where the LGBTQ+ community may be penalised,” Tinder’s traveller alert reads.
“We want you to have fun, but your safety is our number one priority. Please proceed with caution and take extra care when making new matches and meeting with people you do not know.”
While this marks a temporary limitation on meeting potential matches, the alert is grounded in a real threat of persecution from law enforcement agency workers going undercover on the app, laws criminalising same-sex activity and other Tinder users hostile to the LGBTQ+ community.
ILGA provided Tinder with data to create their update, and released a statement on the new feature.
“We work hard to change practices, laws and attitudes that put LGBTQ+ people at risk – including the use of dating apps to target our community – but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety,” explained André du Plessis.
Homophobia is still an epidemic in society, despite progress occurring with equal marriage and representation.