Grindr shuts down feature that could have outed Olympians in Beijing

The Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium

Grindr has confirmed that it has disabled its “explore” feature at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protect LGBT+ athletes from being outed.

The app’s “explore” feature allows Grindr users to view profiles from all around the world.

Last year, during the 2020 Summer Olympics, a dangerous trend emerged as social media users used it to navigate to the Tokyo Olympic Village and track down closeted queer athletes.

Their Grindr profiles of athletes were then shared on Twitter and TikTok, putting them at huge risk as some countries participating in the games still heavily criminalise their LGBT+ citizens.

Grindr told Insider at the time that users who were posting the athletes’ profiles on social media were “in breach of Grindr’s terms and conditions of service which prohibit them from publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information that are part of the Grindr services”.

But now, during the Winter Olympics, Grindr is taking steps to crack down on the trend.

The “explore” feature has been disabled for anyone within Beijing’s Olympic Village to keep athletes safe from discrimination, harassment and persecution, according to Bloomberg.

Although the method has been used before by Grindr to prevent the outing of queer people in LGBT+ countries, it has never before been used at an event like the Olympics.

Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr for Equality, said: “We want Grindr to be a space where all queer athletes, regardless of where they’re from, feel confident connecting with one another while they’re in the Olympic Village.”

All other features of the hook-up app will still be available, allowing queer sportspeople to enjoy Grindr in peace.

The 2022 Winter Olympics is breaking records with more than 30 openly LGBT+ athletes competing, more than ever before. This figure is more than double the number at the last Winter Olympics, with only 15 out athletes competing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.