Transdr — the world’s first dating app exclusively for transgender people — has been harshly criticised.
After the app drew criticism this week, a Transdr spokesperson explained to PinkNews how the app intends to fix mistakes in terms of language and features.
Transdr co-founder Sean Kennedy recently introduced PinkNews to the app by stating the need for an explicitly trans dating service, especially as other trans-friendly sites have closed.
“When spaces such as Craigslist’s personals section, Backpage and Hungangels’ forum have closed, it has forced some trans people to find new spaces to meet other trans people,” said Kennedy.
“We feel like trans people were treated unfairly on Tinder from time to time. There should be an app knowing about them well and making them feel comfortable.”
However, within weeks of the launch of the app, many transgender people took to social media to heavily criticise many of the app’s features and descriptions.
One of the main complaints was the use of multiple derogatory terms in both advertisements for the app and the app itself.
“‘Transdr is a TS dating and social community for transgender, crossdresser people…’ and it goes on to use the words shemale, lady boy and sissy boy. Wow, there’s a hot mess,” one Twitter user wrote.
These words – which are regularly used as insults against transgender people – were originally justified by a Transdr spokesperson as being used for advertising purposes, allowing the app to be found more easily in search engines and within the app stores.
When asked whether the app still supported the use of these terms after the complaints, a Transdr spokesperson told PinkNews that while there was a benefit to using such loaded terms, they had made the decision to remove them.
The spokesperson said: “Those terms have a good number of searches on Google and app store.
“We would argue that [being easily found on search engines] also contributes to the user experience. The most important thing for a dating app is to get as many new users as possible to give its users more choices.
“If we are doing well in bringing new users to Transdr, our users will be able to find the right person easier and quicker.
“However, we care about our users very much and we have removed those terms on our official site. Also, we will remove them on the app title.”
Another issue that had been highlighted by users is the lack of non-binary options within the app.
App users were given the options to define as male or female, as well as female to male (FTM) or male to female (MTF).
Non-binary Transdr users were forced to either define as a binary gender or “other,” which many said was unfair for a trans focused app.
Transdr said that they had planned to include a non-binary option, but that it was removed by mistake and would be added to a subsequent update.
The app had previously said that Transdr was for trans people and their “admirers,” prompting criticism of the app for encouraging “chasers” – that is, people who fetishise trans people – and not keeping the app exclusive.
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Transdr have acknowledged this as another mistake.
“We published Transdr in a rush because Craigslist personals was closed,” a spokesperson said.
“There are many imperfect places on the official site and the app. It’s a mistake.”
They later added: “In the end, we decided that Transdr is only for trans people. We will remove ‘and their admirers.'”
Others have criticised the app for being made by cisgender people without the input of trans people.
“Oh a trans dating app? Cool cool I wonder if the creator is actually trans… oh no who could have seen this coming 🤦🏻♀️,” wrote one Twitter user.
Transdr confirmed to PinkNews that one of the app’s co-founders was trans.
“Our team has a trans person who is dedicated to product and marketing. We will make Transdr transgender friendly with his help,” co-founder Sean Kennedy said on Tuesday.
The app currently has 6,200 users internationally and will be available on Android platforms at a later date.