I was browsing Quora before heading home from the office and I saw something that troubled me. I saw several false reviews on a question about which dating app was better: Tinder, Grindr, or Transdr. Spoiler alert: I said none of them were appropriate given the background of each platform. Hence, why we are launching an online dating service of our very own. However, I saw a number of accounts posting false information about trans people. Their grammar was absolutely atrocious (i.e. using the word “transgenders” instead of “transgender people”) and their answers factually bereft. Not to mention, they all promoted Transdr, a transgender dating app with an extremely problematic history.
And yes, we’ll return to our eight part series on the Solidarity Economy soon.
Sockpuppet #1: Dave Smith
“Dave Smith” (probably not the user’s real name) writes a number of answers about trans people that are factually untrue. In a question about coping with gender dysphoria at school, “Dave” advises suffering through it. Never mind the fact that there are professional resources from amazing organizations such as TYEF and GLAD. Not to mention, Zinnia Jones has written an amazing article about cheap puberty blockers. There is real help available, please seek it out! They also claimed that gay people have existed longer than trans people despite no evidence to support this claim.
I can abide a lot of shameless self promotion of an app… but let me tell you, when you give bad advice to a trans kid, you’re attacking trans people. When you spread misinformation and validate transphobes’ mass exclusion of trans people from the dating pool, you do more damage to trans people.
Sockpuppet #2: Star Brooks
Star Brooks parrots a lot of the bad advice Dave Smith does but she also goes further by claiming that it’s okay not to accept trans people.
Being transgender isn’t as trivial as playing the piano. Many trans people face social isolation and a number of other issues due to a lack of acceptance. This could be from family, friends, or both. I deliberately went to university on the other side of the world when I started my transition just so I could transition in peace. But this next answer blew my mind.
I will never tell you that being transgender is the easiest thing in the world. I won’t tell you that transition isn’t a serious change in your life. But I can tell you that since I transitioned, I have cultivated friendships and relationships that are more authentic and stable. While the larger society may regard me as mentally ill or a pervert, I’m here… proving them wrong. I cultivated the relationships to live a better life and it has made all the difference in the world. In fact, here’s a picture of myself with one of my best friends:
Being transgender doesn’t suck. Transphobia sucks.
So, what does this say about Transdr?
There’s no use in denying it. Transdr has had a very problematic history. Its flippant use of transphobic slurs in its app page, along with these tactics to try to promote it show me one thing. Clearly, the people running Transdr aren’t doing the work necessary to improve the lives of trans people. They’re not using their advertising, their platform, nor their profits to do good. In shamelessly advertising their less-than-second-rate dating app, they also spread misinformation about trans people and to trans youth. This is yet another example of capitalism at its most predatory.
I have had to ask a lot of bold questions in the process of planning and launching an online dating service. However, it has always been my goal to promote Elysium and our products and service with the utmost respect and credibility. This is a core component to being in the Solidarity Economy. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell the future of Elysium Studios, but I can tell you one thing. We will never act in a way contrary to the interests of the trans community.