'I just wanted to find love like everybody else.'
Love it or hate it, Tinder has totally revolutionised the way that millennials date – though they’re currently being held accountable for their treatment of trans people on the app. After numerous reports that trans women were having their accounts deleted for violating community guidelines, one woman has decided enough is enough and is taking Tinder to court.
Ariel Hawkins, a transgender woman in Portland, Oregon, was using the dating app and added the lines ‘camgirl on the side. preop trans woman’ to her profile. Just hours later, Tinder emailed to tell her that her account had violated their terms of service and her account had been terminated.
She explained to Willamette Week, ‘I’ve never had this happen with another dating app before. Every dating app I’ve ever used or signed up for, I’ve always tried to disclose [my transgender identity] and be upfront with that because I don’t want to run into any harmful situations.’
Tinder recently rolled out a More Genders update in 2016, which allowed users to choose from 37 gender options varying from Man to Gender Questioning to Transgender Female.
They said at the time in a blog post, ‘Inclusion and acceptance drive this expansion, and we want Tinder to reflect the world that surrounds us every day. No one will ever be banned from Tinder because of their gender.’
Despite any good intentions however, trans people are still being banned from the app and it isn’t down to the More Genders update – those banned suspect it’s actually down to its transphobic users reporting them en masse, resulting in their accounts being deleted.
Last December, trans woman Tahlia Rene blasted the app for its failure to act on the issue and said on Instagram, ‘So @tinder banned me for violating their community guidelines “in some way” but every trans woman knows this means I was auto banned based on volume of reports. I’m disgusted that @tinder tried to make themselves out to be “trans inclusive” but when it comes down to it we get banned for being open about being trans #GirlsLikeUs #TransIsBeautiful’
YouTube Kat Blaque also criticised Tinder in a now-deleted Twitter thread after her accounts were terminated multiple times, saying, ‘At this point, it’s very, very, very hard for me to not believe that I am either being targeted by transphobic trolls or being banned because I’m trans.’
After Ariel’s account was deleted, Tinder failed to respond to her questions as to why. She explained that all of her photographs were appropriate and there was nothing that could be deemed ‘not safe for work’ in her profile.
Ariel said, ‘I wanted to just find love like everybody else. I’m just looking to date. I was trying to find a boyfriend.’
She filed her lawsuit against Tinder on March 14 in Portland, Oregon, asking for a court order ‘prohibiting Tinder to continue discriminating against non-cisgender Oregon users.’
Tinder issued a statement later that day saying, ‘While we do not comment on pending litigation, we can say, categorically, that we do not ban users from Tinder due to gender identity. At Tinder, we fundamentally believe that gender is not binary and we support inclusivity and acceptance of all people, which is why we offer more than 37 gender identity options for our users in the United States.’