Dating app Grindr turns 10
In the world of online dating, finding the right person — or a person for “right now” — is often just a swipe away.
For many people within the LGBTQ community, they have met their match(es) through the dating app Grindr.
The app launched a decade ago this month, and since then, it has grown to be one of the world’s largest social-networking apps for gay, bi, transgender and queer people. Grindr boasts that it has millions of daily users all over the world.
The app’s rise in popularity is no big surprise, as it turns out online dating in general has become the most popular way to meet people, especially within the LGBTQ community. New research from Stanford University and the University of New Mexico says the majority — nearly 70 per cent — of American same-sex couples who met recently did so online.
To put this in perspective, only about 40 per cent of straight couples who recently got together met online, according to the schools’ research.
Online, nonetheless, has become the way to meet people, eclipsing what were the main ways couples would meet (through friends, at a bar or restaurant, etc.), says the research paper.
WATCH: How the experience of online dating differs for people of colour
Hershel Russell, a registered psychotherapist who specializes in work within LGBTQ communities, says although the traditional ways people meet still work well for everyone, “if you don’t have access to that or if that’s not working, [LGBTQ] people have [fewer] other resources to turn to.”
Russell adds many people from this community go online to date because it comes down to “vulnerability.”
“If you’re vulnerable to discrimination and if you’re seeking partnership from a relatively small group then it’s going to be a lot easier to find someone online,” said Russell, who is based in Toronto.
But Viviana Santivanez, 29, says when it comes to her experiences on Grindr, there were “good ones and bad ones … mostly bad ones,” as she had used the app when she moved to Toronto from the United States.
“If you’re trying to find a friend or a dating relationship … it ain’t going to work.”
Santivanez says because she is transsexual, most of the people she met on the app said they thought she wanted to “hook up,” but she was unaware of this.
Karmi Alkarmy, who also lives in Toronto, says he has used the app for this very reason and has “hooked up with a lot of guys on Grindr.”
“I like that it’s easy,” said the 31-year-old. “You see the picture, you see the description … and it’s convenient. It shows the distance [from you], too.”
Santivanez says the upside to Grindr is it can help people make connections within the LGBTQ community. “For me, a Latina … it [gives] you a different platform to actually meet Latinos in the Toronto area.”
Anthony Mohamed says he has used dating apps, including Grindr, to not only create new relationships but to stay in touch with people he has already met.
The 51-year-old said “It’s wonderful to connect with people, but it’s also good to just feel like you’re part of a larger community, and that’s what these apps do is they make you feel like you’re part of something bigger.”