Online dating comes with its own dangers – but for members of the LGBTQ community, the dangers are of a different kind.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), there are roughly 70 countries in the world where LGBTQ status is – to varying degrees – still a punishable crime.
In a bid to make people feel safer, Tinder is rolling out a ‘Traveller Alert’ update that will let LGBTQ users know when they’ve entered a country that discriminates against LGBTQ.
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“Starting today, we’re rolling out a Traveler 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,” Tinder said in a statement.
When LGBTQ community members enter an area earmarked for being hostile or discriminatory, the user will not show up on Tinder in that area.
The alert is sent through the app, and then users can choose whether they want to be hidden in that location, or make their profile public.
But even if they choose to be shown on Tinder, their sexual orientation or gender identity – if they have added it to their profile – will not be displayed until they leave the region.
The dating app worked with ILGA World to set the locations where the Traveller Alert would appear.
The roll-out is coming to both iOS and Android users “in the coming days”.
Travel tips for LGBTQ+
Tinder has also updated its Safety Travel tips for LGBTQ+ app users and advised people to check the laws on the kind of legal protection they have when travelling to a new place.
Tinder suggested toggling off “Show me on Tinder”, which can be found in Settings, or hiding your sexual orientation from your profile until you leave the area.
“It’s important to exercise extra caution if you choose to connect with new people in these countries – as some law enforcement have been known to use dating apps as tools for potential entrapment,” the dating app warned.
“Some countries have also recently introduced laws that criminalise communications between individuals on same-sex dating applications or websites and even aggravate penalties if that communication leads to sexual encounters.”
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