When actress Trace Lysette made a Tinder Gold profile Tuesday night, she expected to meet some nice people and maybe get her flirt on. Instead she woke up the next morning to find her profile banned with no explanation.
On Wednesday morning, Lysette tweeted that she had "attempted to get back on the dating horse and signed on @tinder last night."
"Uploaded a few flirty pics," the Hustlers and Transparent star added. "Bought the gold version so I don't have to swipe a million times to see who likes me. And when I woke up this AM I was banned."
Other trans women started replying that they've been banned in the past, too. In response to the outpouring of stories similar to hers, Lysette tweeted, "Can't help but wonder if it's because I'm trans. I have heard many of my girlfriends explain how they have been banned too. @Tinder what's up?"
Trans women suddenly having their online dating profiles banned or disabled with little to no explanation isn't a new phenomenon. One common tactic that transphobes will use is reporting trans women's Tinder profiles by saying that their accounts are "deceptive" or "fake," or sometimes just reporting them as being spam or having inappropriate photos.
Of the countless dozens of trans women who have faced this situation, the stories mostly end the same way. The user tries to contact Tinder for an explanation and doesn't get one. Sometimes if the individual makes a big enough stink, they get help.
After Tinder's official Twitter account replied to her, Lysette tweeted again, saying that her profile had been reinstated, but she's going to continue to talk with Tinder about the larger underlying issue.
"I know everyone doesn't have the luxury of just tweeting them and getting results," she said.
While Lysette toldOut she had no additional comment on the matter, a Tinder spokesperson claimed the app "fundamentally [supports] inclusivity and acceptance of all people," citing the "50 gender identities and nine sexual orientations" from which it allows users to choose.
"We recognize the transgender community faces challenges on Tinder, including being unfairly reported by potential matches and work closely with organizations like GLAAD to constantly improve our practices," the company added.
Tinder also recommends that anyone who is falsely reported activate the "More Genders feature."
They also recommend "reaching out to our customer care team at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Using the More Gender feature helps Tinder to figure out when a profile is being falsely reported. If a user has their gender selected on their profile and contacts Tinder about being banned, they might be able to do something about getting it reinstated.
It's strange, however, that the only solution lies in trans Tinder users taking action themselves by ticking a box marked "more gender." Even when a trans woman does set her profile gender as "Trans Woman," that can let other users know she's trans and help her get support from Tinder -- but it doesn't stop others from reporting the profile.
It's good that Tinder can use the feature to help figure out which users are being wrongfully banned, but it would be better to see another solution.
Providing more gender and sexuality options is helpful, but it doesn't do enough to stop trans women like Lysette from being harassed by people who wish they didn't exist.