Jeremy is one of an increasing number of straight men on Grindr , the hookup app created in 2009 for men who have sex with men. Like most of them, however, Jeremy’s profile includes a perplexing caveat: “No Guys,” it reads, adding that any messages from men will be deleted. The 27-year-old personal trainer from Northern California is only interested in meeting trans women.
Earlier this month, he left Tinder , the go-to hetero dating app, after averaging a measly two matches a week and meeting only four people in six months. Living alone as a caretaker for his grandmother with dementia, Jeremy tells me he’s “pretty lonely IRL.” His father recently passed away; six weeks later his girlfriend dumped him. He knew Grindr was popular – the “gay Tinder,” as he puts it – so when he learned it included a “trans” category he quietly downloaded the orange-and-black mask onto his iPhone.
“I got over 100 messages in the first week,” he says, admitting the attention was nice but “didn’t really fill the void.” That’s because around 95 of them were from guys, four were crossdressers and only two were actual trans women. “I have zero attraction to men,” he repeats.
Despite being catfished three times and another three people cancelling at gay hookup sites Madison the last minute, he’s thrilled to have had two successful meet-ups in as many weeks, which he calls “way better” odds than he ever had on Tinder. And while the sex wasn’t earth-shattering – “showed up, got sucked, did the fucking, I came, then left” – that’s exactly how he likes it. “I have no interest in penises, but sex is sex if I’m getting off. There are trans women on Grindr who are totally into servicing men, and those are the ones I’m after. And because they have penises, they know what it should feel like, or at least all the little details.”
The growing trend of Jeremy and others posting “no men” on Grindr is understandably frustrating for some gay men who tell me they feel sidelined in a space originally designed for them
It’s especially prevalent in Washington, D.C., where a college friend tells me it’s “surreal” to go to a gay friendly space and see people explicitly ruling out gay sex. “To read ‘no homos’ or ‘no men’ on a gay male app is troubling,” he says. “To have trans women hitting on me – when it’s clear I’m not into women – is openly homophobic. This is one consequence of the trans revolution: Gay male spaces and lesbian female spaces are being erased.”
Other redditors offer blatantly transphobic reasoning: That men on Grindr who pursue trans women are “deep in the closet” and attempting to satisfy their desire for the same sex within a feminine package in order to convince themselves it’s not gay
Some of the men I poll in the r/askgaybros subreddit agree. “I don’t understand why Grindr has gone to the extent of bringing in gender identities and preferred pronouns filters when it’s literally a gay hookup/dating app,” says Adam, a 26-year-old gay man in Sydney, Australia. “It’s like we’re being excluded within our own community.” Coronacivica echoes this sentiment. “Grindr is a gay hookup app for bisexual and gay men, and straight men shouldn’t be on it in my opinion.” (A spokesperson for Grindr declined to comment on the matter despite multiple interview requests.)
“They want to have their cake and eat it too,” posits Platinumdust05 , suggesting these men are in denial, likening it to when guys say things like, “I’m not gay, I just have a dick fetish.”