Users react to queer dating app’s new direction • TechCrunch


Lex, a hookup and social app launched in 2019 for lesbian personals dating back to the 80s, is evolving. Only, exactly how much will change is still an open question. Sure, the venture-backed startup behind the Care app gave it a new lick of paint last week, but with its refocus on “friends and communities,” some users fear it will also ditch the raucous content that Lex loves.

Horny and healthy for individuals, the text-based service has evolved over the past few years into a queer community newsletter – a place for women, trans, genderqueer and non-binary people to announce meetups, find concert tickets, share poetry, crack jokes or simply take a cruise. Given its scope and silliness, the app inspires smiles and eye movements alike among queers in my orbit.

Lex fills a need that is typically frowned upon by mainstream technology. Craigslist, which grew its newspaper classifieds business by leaps and bounds, shut down its online personals feature a year before Lex launched. Social giants like Meta and Tik Tok, on the other hand, have a much more sanitized view of sex and sexuality. Apple, which sets the ground rules for flagship apps through the App Store, is also completely smart. The vulnerable gatekeeper of tech censorship — as well as the broader purview of businesses, and then monetization, of queer culture — make many LGBTQIA+ people wary of social media.

So, it’s no surprise that Lex’s announcement of a “new look” and “new direction” rubbed people the wrong way, even though thirsty posting on the app continues.

Lex relaunched the redesign on January 26, highlighting its role in helping people find “LGBTQ+ friends and the queer community.” A press release describes the app’s evolution from “a dating app to a vibrant social platform.” Instagram post He highlighted the shift from personal company announcements to group chats and meetings. Using how a meme started (sharing lesbian pictures and personal information on Instagram) when he posted a “squeak and jam” for a trans tea party.

But by giving up, is Lex trying to clean himself up? The uproar I saw in response to the redesign was swift, though not universal.

“Wtf lex … being queer is sacred, not a commodity,” one user said publicly. Another said, “Let’s keep it 🥵 😘🫦.” I appreciate the effort to make Lex better for platonic queer relationships, but I hate the new culture of cleaning up the internet and washing our sexuality from every platform.

New Lakes is green. Old Lex was blue. Image Credits: Lex

Others praised and criticized Lex’s new look. One user said the redesign made the app more welcoming, while another called it more beautiful. I raved about the app’s new color scheme, “Being green isn’t easy. But at least it’s not Twitter. (I completely forgot that TechCrunch uses the same color… oops!) I asked for more feedback on the new direction through the app, and heard from about a dozen people, most of whom expressed some level of concern.

Lily, a Lex user, told me she hated the shift. “Queer spaces that try to distance themselves from being sex-centric = giving in to the gay community,” she explains. I’m trying to talk about other uses (ie, gender). Another user said the app looked more clunky before the redesign. He added: “I’m a defiance in a camp called Lex Crux.

One user told me, “There’s enough social media out there. My pick of the original Lex is the Craigslist impression. Another user warned, “There’s a lot more to keeping a queer ex’s dating app clean. Look at the annual Pride debate and how often it is said that if we want to be worthy of our gay rights, there shouldn’t be signs of sexuality everywhere.

Later, a new user who joined after the redesign told me she saw the complaints and felt “missed out lol”.

When asked about the app’s direction, Lex co-founder Kel Rakowski told TechCrunch that the company had “tested thousands of Lexers and realized that a huge number of people wanted a platform to find friendly friends and community around them.” Rakowski pointed me to a user research registration page and said Lex pays for user feedback. The founder and CEO went on to say that Lex’s “all queer team” “oversees all production decisions.” She added, “Our investors will never interfere with Lex’s vision.

On the subject of sex, Rakowsky said, “We encourage lexers to continue posting terrible dates and hookups on Lex! It is their meeting place for love, friendship and more.

According to the bottom of Lex’s Terms of Use page, the company last updated its policy on November 1, 2022. The terms state that users agree that their content will not contain “offensive, pornographic, violent or sexually explicit material.” Lex defines content as “all text, images, videos, audio or other material.” In other words, the company maintains its ability to take down sex posts, but that doesn’t mean it’s actively doing so. This is pretty common, boilerplate language as far as app terminology goes. According to the founder, “One of the reasons we built Lex as an app and moved away from hosting it on Instagram was to get rid of standalone meta rules.

Leaks declined to say how many people use the app when asked, but Rakowski said the service is “growing rapidly in cities across the US” and the top cities are NYC, Chicago. [and] La.” The ten-person team behind Lex has raised at least $1.5 million from investors such as Corigin Ventures, Bumble Fund and Bonobos founder Andy Dunn.

Do you know anything about Lex’s new direction? Contact this reporter via Twitter or email.


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