Race preference in the gay community always carried problematic implications. A new gay dating app plans to start fresh.
An especially harmful undercurrent runs through today's network of gay dating online — that is, through apps such as Grindr and Scruff and their more lascivious counterparts. However, a new app called Noir has billed itself as a racially inclusive alternative to Grindr.
The makers of the new platform say it aims to be a safe social network on which men of color and those who love them can converge in a healthier, more politically-conscious way. The app is welcome to anyone identifying as male in the LGBT community, but ladies won’t be left out forever.
“A version under a different name is currently under development for anyone identifying as female in the LGBTQ community,” Noir told SFGN. “Keeping them separate cuts the confusion between the sexes/genders.”
Noir is aiming to "recreate the environment of Harlem’s Black owned night clubs from the 1920s that is conducive for dating,” according to their website.
“These were clubs where people of color got to enter through the front door," Noir's website explained. "These were places where the service was catered to Black people. They were also the only places where you can find Black, White and Other all in one place simply enjoying life.”
Some examples of the recent profusion of racist behavior that abounds on Grindr and elsewhere include instances of discrimination against black, Latinx and Asian men, claimed as a matter of preference; hate speech and the promotion of racial stereotypes; and also a kind of creepy fetishization of ethnic difference among certain populations.
Any man of modest reason living today would concede that such racially-motivated discrimination is egregious — especially in a community of men whose marginalization in social, professional and political spheres has shaped and shaded the contours of time.
In the matter of fostering a safe online environment for men, Noir had this to say:
“We do encourage our members to report any profiles that use bigoted language and/or rhetoric,” the website says. “‘No \< insert race here \>, just a preference.’ will also not be tolerated. Noir is not the place for that type of language.”