Grindr founder Simkhai: ‘I’m very proud [it] has forced us to up our game.’

There has been lots of criticism of the gay dating app Grindr ever since its launch. To debunk — or perhaps, to explain away–some of it, Grindr CEO and founder Joel Simkhai stopped by The Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusXM Progress.

One of the most common criticisms Grindr receives is that the app is competition for gay bars, sometimes even putting them out of business. But Simkhai says gay bars are not the “be all, end all.” He notes that there are other ways gay men can meet each other. Instead, Simkhai says gay bars just have to evolve with the times, and one way of doing that is working in partnership with Grindr, something he is already working on.

When faced with the criticism that Grindr is reducing gay men to “superficially meeting” based on their appearance in pictures, Simkhai says he’s glad Grindr is encouraging men to work towards that physical ideal.

“I’m very proud if GRINDR has forced us to up our game,” he said. “We’re men, we visualize… and it’s that visual that’s so important to us.”

The discussion also touched the topic of the impact Grindr has had around the world, particularly in places like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan where, as Simkhai says, it is “literally illegal to be gay.” Simkhai explained that in those areas where there are no laws protecting gay men, the app is their only option.

“We see this [in] many many different places where they say ‘Grindr has allowed me to figure out who I am,'” Simkhai said.

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