The app was evolving from a dating app to a community space

The app was evolving from a dating app to a community space

“I wanted [Lex] to be this very special fun community bulletin board where people could ask for book clubs and also a fisting bottom, you know?” Eliot said. “But it felt like it was weirdly hostile to trans folks.”

When I complained on Twitter about my lack of options, I got several people suggesting that I try Feeld, which markets itself as an app specifically for people looking for casual and group sex (in addition to nonmonogamy)

Then, at the end of January, Lex announced a massive rebrand CrГ©ditos asianfeels . When I reached out for comment, Lex responded that it surveyed the app’s users and found that “ the majority of them were wanting a platform to find queer friends and community in their area” and “the rebrand represents this evolution.” That said, “we encourage Lexers looking for dates and hookups to continue horny posting on Lex!”

But casual users might be surprised by that. After all, the app announced its rebrand on social media with a “how it started”/“how it’s going” side-by-side. On the “how it started” side were On Our Backs personals seeking kinky sex. On the “how it’s going” side was a Lex post for a T4T tea party. The choice to position itself as moving away from explicit sex-seeking ads sends a message, whether Lex intends it to or not.

In the hundreds of studies that Gieseking reviewed that looked at lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, and sapphic experiences on dating apps, they found that the studies overwhelmingly tended to focus on or assume that the participants they are studying are cisgender

“I have had some good hookups from [Lex] and a nine-month relationship,” Tyra said. “But still, it’s so blah. It feels so fucking centrist.”

I signed up for the app and was greeted by an array of options for my gender and sexuality – off to a good start. I then could choose what kinds of connections I was looking for. I selected several, including “threesomes.” It asked me to narrow the kinds of threesomes I was looking for down even further, giving me the options “MMF,” “FFM,” “FFF,” and “MMM.”

At that point, I closed the app. None of those gender markers fit my identity as a nonbinary person, meaning I didn’t exist in the options at all. I also don’t sleep with cis people, so even though my partner is a man, he is trans, which is an important distinction for me. Where was the “T4T” option?

“Feeld offers the option of the ‘threeway’ tag, which serves trans or nonbinary individuals, or those seeking gender combinations not offered in the pre-set options,” Julia van der Laan, a spokesperson for Feeld, said. But that still doesn’t allow trans users to narrow their preferences down in the same way that cis people can. She also volunteered several other workarounds which included filtering search criteria and being open about preferences in your bio on the app.

There have been positive steps recently. “Because people have fought from without and within these apps” to push for change, Gieseking said. Grindr recognised the issues trans people were having on its app, which Tyra summed up as: “hostile to trans women in search of trans women, unsolicited dick pics and straight-up hate messages from cis gay men, and chasers aplenty.” In response, Grindr commissioned a pretty impressive whitepaper rethinking trans presence on the app.

That was spearheaded by Grindr’s senior director of customer experience, Alice Hunsberger. Hunsberger has spoken about her own trans family member, which means “that [work] was fuelled by someone who personally cared about trans people in their lives,” Gieseking said. “I don’t know of many trans people who work in the industry.”

That’s why Gieseking launched their survey. Studies looking at – or even explicitly including – trans experiences are few and far between, if they exist at all.

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