As we all know, online dating is not for the faint hearted – it's time consuming, takes a lot of effort to sift through the wheat from the chaff (a lot of blummin' chaff, it seems) and is a pretty brave activity seeing as you're putting yourself out there for the whole world to see.
So, it's refreshing to hear that Tinder has just made some major changes on its dating app and is finally allowing users to select an identity that isn't as binary as 'male' or 'female'. As a result, we can all now start adding terms to our profiles to describe our gender identities without having to go through the added pressure of doing so via instant message.
It's surprising that before today, the app limited users to choose between male and female and disregarded transgender, gender-nonfconforming, bigender and pangender communities, meaning that some users either felt misrepresented, underrepresented, over looked and often banned from the digi-dating app.
Championing inclusivity, Tinder CEO Sean Rad revealed the imminent expansion of features on the app back in June, describing it as 'the right thing to do, period', to Refinery 29.
Teaming up with LGBT rights activist Andrea James and US non-governmental media monitoring organization GLAAD, the new features are currently only available in the US, Canada, and the UK but we suspect plans to roll out the function worldwide will occur, in due course.
James said in a press release: 'For many trans people, opening up to a new romantic prospect about being trans can be a really nerve-racking experience.
I know this update will helps trans and gender-nonconforming users feel more comfortable while forging new relationships.
To change your gender setting on Tinder, the app's online blog advises:
'Simply edit your profile. When you tap 'I Am' and select 'More' you can type a word that describes your gender identity. You can also select to be shown in searches which best reflect your identity. All users have the option to display their gender on their profile, as well.'
The blog also explains why Tinder hasn't been able to include all gender and gender nonconformist users in the past.
We haven't had the right tools to serve our diverse community in the past, but that changes today.
'In addition to this new feature, we are learning to be a better ally to transgender and gender non-conforming communities by allocating additional resources to our support team, which includes educating our staff about the challenges facing these communities,' it added.
However, with almost 40 new gender definition options to choose from on Tinder, it's hard to understand what they all mean.
We spoke to ELLE's transgender columnist Rhyannon Styles to get the lo-down on the exact meanings behind the identities. Here is what she had to say:
You believe in two genders and express female/male simultaneously or separate. What a wardrobe!
Acknowledging that male/female are one thing, and that you are everything.
You stick two fingers up to gender altogether.
Feeling comfortable since the day you were born, in the body you're in.
You reject the binary and what some would say – 'out of date' labels of female and male altogether. Think Miley Cyrus and Willow Smith.
This is my label of choice. This is for the trans girls who were assigned male at birth but now identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity.
Transsexual Female/ woman
There is no difference between the two. A transsexual woman or transexual female is somebody who was born in a male body and has since changed that into a female body through a medical process.