Grindr Teams Up With Gay Activists To Remove Ban In Turkey

Dan Littauer
Authored by
Dan Littauer

September 26, 2013
6:52 a.m.

Gay dating app Grindr is asking its over 6 million members to demand that Turkey overturns a ban on its service in the country.

Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace blocked access to Grindr’s database and its website as a “protection measure” on September 11, affecting over 125,000 active monthly Grindr users in Turkey.

Grindr for Equality, a campaign arm of the company, teamed up with Turkey’s main association, KAOS GL and LGBT advocacy group, All Out, to petition Turkey to lift the ban.

The Turkish government is using the discourse on the ‘traditional heterosexual family’ as a pretext to suppress LGBT rights.

“This is simply a dismissal of the LGBT society through official policies of denial and discriminative practices.

The Grindr ban is just another example showing that the Turkish Prime Minister’s recurrent words ‘we do not intervene with anyone’s lifestyle’ are not true.

“At KAOS GL, we demand that both online and offline pressure on LGBT people come to an end and LGBT people be recognized as equal citizens,” said Ömer Akpinar, KAOS GL’s Media Coordinator.

“Turkey’s crackdown on free speech is very troubling,” said Joe Mirabella, Director of Communications for All Out.

“All Out members won’t stand for Turkey’s censorship of the gay community. If we don’t speak out now, this won’t stop with Grindr because it’s just one part of the Turkish government’s crackdown against freedom of speech across the entire country.”

“Oppression starts with the strangling of free speech and just like the burning of books in the past, today it’s done by cutting off people’s access to technology,” said Grindr Founder and CEO Joel Simkhai.

“Freedom to communicate is a basic right and Grindr is exploring all options to resolve this matter including a legal appeal.  We’re grateful for the support of All Out and KAOS GL in helping us to reverse the blocking of Grindr in Turkey.

“Grindr believes in strength in numbers and we are urging everyone to sign All Out’s petition to strengthen and stop the silencing of the Turkish gay community.

“It is not intended to offend the Turkish way of life but rather foster open communication within Turkey.”

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