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Tinder’s new feature prioritises LGBTQ+ safety

The ‘traveler alert’ pops up when LGBTQ+ users are in a country where homosexuality is illegal

Tinder is set to introduce a new feature that seeks to help those at risk in countries where the LGBTQ+ community is yet to attain basic human rights. Tinder users will be notified when they open the app in any of the 69 countries in which LGBTQ+ people are still under threat of prosecution.

The app will hide the profile of the user until they activate it again themselves, after which their sexual orientation and gender identity will remain hidden. The feature will also be used on Tinder Passport, an extension of the app which lets people connect around the world.

An alert will pop up on the phone of the user reading: “Based on your geographical location, it appears you're in a place where the LGBTQ+ community may be penalised. We want you to have fun, but your safety is our #1 priority. Please proceed with caution and take extra care when making new matches and meeting with people you do not know.”

The company’s CEO, Elie Seidman was forthright with her stance on the issue by stating: “We fundamentally believe that everyone should be able to love who they want to love – and we strive to reflect this in everything we do at Tinder.”

Although dating apps aim to bring like-minded people together, unfortunately many see themselves as at risk by using these apps. Last year, Pickable hoped to improve the dating app experience for women by making female profiles anonymous and allowing them to choose dating options, with men having to wait to be approached.

Even though there are different degrees of homophobia enshrined into law over the world, in nine countries homosexuality is still punishable by death – a harrowing thought in 2019.

While it goes without saying that this shouldn’t be an issue, the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community is still widespread. In Georgia, the fear that exists is exemplified by the words of Irakli Rusadze: “Unlike western activism, which is based on the demonstration of unity and actual pride, Georgian Pride mostly just asks ‘please don’t beat and kill us’.”

Of course there’s still so far to go, but this has been a year for widespread LGBTQ+ celebration and acceptance – seeing marriage equality finally coming to places like Northern Ireland, and the expansive reflection on 50 years since the Stonewall riots.