Boasting 1.5 million users in 55 countries, HER is undeniably the largest and most recognizable lesbian dating app on the market. While debatable now, it appears to have been created with the best of intentions. The app’s founder, Robyn Exton, said she first set out to design an app that wasn’t just a female version of Grindr.
However, over the last few years, HER has become less of a platform for lesbians to mingle and more of a case study in the contagion of gender identity ideology and how it uniquely harms the lesbian community.
Launched in 2015 under the premise of being a female-run lesbian space, HER went through a subtle rebrand in 2018 in an effort to profit from the burgeoning trends of “queerness” and “inclusivity” — terms which had gained popularity from the social justice bloggers of Tumblr and into mainstream discourse. HER, which had ostensibly been designed exclusively for female users, began to add more “categories” and “identities” so it could attract a base that included trans-identified individuals, particularly men. In their promotional materials, HER even began using the term “womxn” to be more inclusive of those who felt “woman” was an offensive term.
Exton gave an interview at the time calling the queer community “amazing” and celebrating the fact that queerness was causing people to “question, challenge, and think about their identity.” But, what started with a spark of “inclusion” turned into a wildfire of compulsion.
On Exton’s app, there was a flood of men who identified as lesbian who felt welcomed to use HER as their new mating grounds. All the while, lesbians and bisexual women who were only interested in dating females were not provided any option to filter out these men from their searches.
Over the short years following, HER began mutating into an entity that was openly hostile to its lesbian users in an effort to signal its dedication to inclusivity.
Without the ability to filter out men, who could pick any identity they liked on the app, some female users took it upon themselves to signify that they were only interested in other women by adding it to their bio or including a photo with logos that signified exclusive same-sex attraction.
These women found themselves quite literally forced off the app.
Jen, a lesbian user known on Twitter as @cbucksrules, told Reduxx was suspended after adding “no trans women” to her bio on HER because she was exclusively same-sex attracted.
Jen had joined HER in late 2021 looking for a female partner and assuming a lesbian dating app would be the place to go for such an endeavor. Finding a veritable smorgasbord of 5 o’clock shadows and head tilts, Jen attempted to ensure she would only be contacted by other female users.
“I [wrote] in my bio what I would not consider the opposite sex as a partner nor a woman who was not a proud woman as we would not be compatible.”
Shortly after, Jen was suspended. She wrote to HER’s customer service and asked why, and received a snarky response from an agent named “Devin” berating her for using “hateful language” in her bio, and asserting “trans women are women.”
Jen was incredulous.
“HER banned me, a lesbian for being a lesbian and not wanting sexual and romantic relationships with the opposite sex,” she told Reduxx.
But Jen’s experience is far from isolated.
Another woman, a vocal woman’s rights advocate known by her moniker DJ Lippy, told Reduxx that she had been suspended from using HER after she uploaded a photograph to her profile featuring a sign that displayed the dictionary definition of woman as an “adult human female.” Many trans-identified males reject the definition of woman as it excludes them as they are not female.
“You can pick any gender identity and sexuality you wish and exclude any you choose… just as long as it isn’t male,” DJ Lippy remarked to Reduxx. “It’s like opening an all you can eat vegan buffet but sneaking salami into all the dishes. When you complain, they kick you out and call you a pork exclusionary radical vegan.”
Another lesbian women’s rights campaigner, Aja, told Reduxx that she was suspended after adding that she was “only interested in biological women” to her profile as she says she had been receiving regular messages from male users who identified as lesbian.
“I was messaged by lots of blokes who I ignored … so I added ‘I’m only interested in biological women’ to my profile and added a picture where I was wearing my ‘adult human female’ t-shirt. Not sure how long it took them to ban me but they did,” Aja says.
Academic and feminist author Holly Lawford-Smith also had a similar experience using the app. In her bio, she wrote that she was only interested in matching with other lesbians and was suspended as a result.
When she reached out to customer service, they advised her that she had been reported for “transphobic” behavior.
The customer service representative, Samantha, went on to inform Holly that it is against their community guidelines to list who you were not interested in matching with, and also compared a lesbian not wanting to mingle with men to a lesbian excluding masculine women.
Speaking with Reduxx, Holly said: “Everything about the app is designed to force gender identity ideology onto the people using the app. You can’t choose a sex, only a gender identity. You’re pushed towards entering pronouns. You can’t filter out males. You constantly have to swipe past men.”
She added: “It’s incredibly sad that an app designed to bring same-sex attracted women together has now been completely infiltrated by, and has completely sold out to, men.”
Other lesbians on social media have expressed similar experienced about being banned from the app for stating that they were exclusively attracted to females.
Even as lesbian users continue to express disappointment in the fact that a lesbian dating app appears to be forcing female users to match with males, HER has continuously doubled down.
Last year, the app announced that it was taking a hard-line stance on so-called “transphobic language and behavior” by adding “improved TERF controls” which made it easier for male users to report female users for being same-sex attracted.
They also surveyed their trans-identified users and asked them what their biggest “hurdles” to dating on the app was. The number one reason given was “trans-exclusionary dating preferences.” Many women expressed outrage that their sexual boundaries were being framed as a “hurdle” that needed to be overcome. But this is hardly the first time homosexual females have been branded as “discriminatory” for not including delusional men in their dating pools.
The HER saga reached a fever pitch, however, over the past few days as it decided to celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week by explicitly attacking and cyberbullying lesbian women who refuse to date trans-identified males on their official Twitter.
In what can only be described as an unhinged tirade, HER’s social media manager used the company’s Twitter to engage in targeted harassment against women. During their episode, they defended a child molester, sexually harassed women, encouraged doxxing, and made a strange comment about feeding gender-critical crabs to trans-identified males. The social media rampage resulted in the company being temporarily suspended from Twitter.
The incident began when HER quote retweeted DJ Lippy, a user who had previously been banned from their app, who had been remarking on how a trans-identified convicted pedophile had taken the name of a feminist activist after he transitioned. Despite the fact HER had not been mentioned in the original comment from DJ Lippy, the app’s official social media page appeared to have sought out her remarks about the pedophile, and responded with an incoherent, sexualized comment mocking the original user.
“Can the TERFs not afford knitting supplies? Somebody start a GoFundMe, left their gaping assholes catch a cold,” HER wrote.
Immediately, they garnered backlash, with people outraged that they appeared to be starting an argument because a user had criticized the actions of a notorious pedophile.
As they started to get criticism, they continued to post bizarre remarks, including that they “must stay young for pedos.”
As more lesbian users came to DJ Lippy’s defense, the user at the helm of the HER Twitter account began sexually harassing lesbians who criticized them.
The overtly homophobic and sexualized nature of the replies led to many on Twitter to speculate that a man was behind the account, with others still so perplexed by the lack of professionalism that they theorized the account had been hacked.
But, after being suspended from Twitter for repeated instances of harassment, HER took to TikTok to inform people that they didn’t care about the suspension and that no one was going to be disciplined for the abusive tweets. Their account has since been reinstated on Twitter.
On April 26, recognized as Lesbian Visibility Day, HER’s founder published a blog post saying that it was her goal to reclaim the word ‘lesbian’ from those who say that “only those assigned female at birth can be lesbians.” After a barrage of insults aimed at lesbians where she calls them transphobic, bigoted, hateful, and even fascist, Exton ends the screed by stating, “There’s no such thing as a real lesbian.”
Oh, how the mighty fall. Robyn Exton, a woman who designed the app in 2015 with the seemingly heartfelt mission of creating a space for female homosexuals, denying the existence of the very base she once tried to serve.
As nonsensical as that might seem at first glance, we must remember that Exton is a businesswoman, and her strategy of booting clientele who are exclusive allows her to expand her potential customer base significantly.
She has no vested interest in stating that lesbians are a specific, definable group of people who actually exist. Doing so would only limit her app’s potential market. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to assume she has has no interest in excluding males from the app, either, as men are much more likely to spend money on a dating app.
HER has chosen their marketing strategy: to make the app as appealing to men as possible, then bully, harass and ban any woman who does not accept their new clientele’s presence. They released two notifications this week alone asserting “transphobes” are not welcome on the app.
These notifications were celebrated online by trans-identified males who call themselves lesbians.
“As a trans lesbian it feels good knowing HER has my back,” one man wrote on the Reddit board r/actuallesbian, a community that is known to have a 47% user overlap with the male-to-female board.
But while HER has been boasting about their trans-inclusivity to the seal-clapping of trans-identified males, even some liberal women have been grappling with how to approach using the app if they are genuinely same-sex attracted. On Instagram, one woman left a comment stating that some women only want to have a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. She clarified that she wasn’t trying to be a “TERF,” lest she be labelled “transphobic.”
HER responded by telling her to “just swipe left” and went on to explain that she needed to reflect on why her sexuality isn’t “inclusive.” Perhaps most disturbingly, they told her she was welcome to use the app only so long as she kept the specifics of her sexual attraction “to herself.”
HER is effectively telling lesbians to stay in the closet about their homosexuality in order to avoid alienating male users. The company continuously promotes the importance of consent whilst viewing women’s sexual boundaries as an obstacle that needs to be either overcome or hidden.
The rebranding of the app from a lesbian dating app to a queer dating app sends a clear message: sexual coercion is in, and sexual boundaries are out. Consent is important, but the reason you’re saying ‘no’ is wrong. You can be a lesbian, but keep it to yourself or you may scare off porn-addled male customers.
The confusing, undulating messaging that borders on gaslighting is the point. It is reflective of how gender ideology operates in general, where blind compliance and devotion is prioritized above common sense. And, of course, all of the compliance and devotion is intended to herd people into a machine of sociopathic profit seeking that benefits a select few.
I have no use for HER, and my lesbian friends have long since figured out to steer clear of it. My concern is for those young lesbian women desperate to avoid accusations of “bigotry” who are now being unwittingly forced into a digital conversion therapy camp — all so Robyn Exton can make a few extra dollars from men in skirts.
Maybe I will launch my own lesbian dating app. I’ll call it HIM to keep the men away.
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