Lesbian app to ‘use facial recognition technology’ to identify and exclude trans users

LGBTQ dating app on phone

A dating app for lesbians will use facial recognition technology to exclude trans women from signing-up.

The app, L’App, has been created by gender-critical campaigner Jenny Watson and will scan a prospective user’s face via their smartphone, allegedly being able to detect if a woman is cis or trans with 99 per cent accuracy.

32-year-old town planner Watson told the The Mail on Sunday that there are “no female-only dating apps at the moment” and “lesbians need an app which they can use without being messaged by trans-identifying males”.

Research by PinkNews previously found most top dating apps, such as Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge and Grindr, are all trans inclusive and have zero-tolerance policies when it comes to transphobia on their platforms.

A woman with blue hair and a beanie is looking at her phone.
Most dating apps have trans-inclusive policies. (Getty)

Watson claims the technology analyses facial features such as bone structure and the positioning of a person’s eyes, eyebrows and nose and is also able to detect if someone is holding up an image of a woman to the camera by noting physical movements, blinking and heat emissions.

“Any time I’ve joined a lesbian dating app or any other dating app myself, I get banned,” Watson said.

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“To avoid trans-identified males, I will always write a little blurb, nothing disrespectful, saying my preference is for women and please respect my boundaries.

“And every time I do that I get banned. On one app I was asked to put down my most controversial opinion, so I wrote that JK Rowling was right and was banned for that. It’s insane.”

Trans-inclusive lesbian apps have faced backlash

Last year, HER – the world’s largest sapphic dating app for lesbian, bisexual and queer people – faced conservative vitriol for welcoming trans and non-binary people.

The pile-on HER faced resulted in its X/Twitter account being temporarily suspended on Lesbian Visibility Day (26 April), after people reported it en masse.

As well as this, so-called gender critical male activists even took to creating their own accounts on HER in a bid to “catch out” trans women using it to find love – only to end up exposing one another instead

In response, the team at HER doubled down on their policies and came out swinging for trans inclusion by sending a push notification to the app’s 10 million users and telling transphobes to delete it from their phones. 

Robyn Exton, HER’s founder and chief executive, told PinkNews at the time said the response was “absurd” because the app had been inclusive of trans people since it was launched in 2015.

The CEO said she and the team were “sick” at the “aggression and violence” aimed at their app and users by so-called gender critical activists, when “all trans women want to do on our app is meet someone to fall in love with”. 

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