One of Lebanon’s leading mobile networks confirmed it has blocked people from using Grindr on the country’s public network, under orders from the Ministry of Telecom.
At the time of writing, the government has not issued a reason as to why the ban has been implemented.
Users complained after they were unable to access the gay dating app on 3G and 4G networks, or public WiFi services. Grindr is still available on private connections.
SMEX, an organisation that works to provide Arabic countries with an open and diverse internet connection, has advised the decision should be changed because it restricts the freedom of the LGBTQ+ community.
The organisers of Beirut Pride issued a statement, as reported by International Business Times: “[This is a] new attack on the freedoms in Lebanon, and intends to shrink national cyber access on the grounds of our personal and intimate relationships.”
“ It confines – the representations of sexual orientation and gender identity back in the closet, behind closed doors. An approach of ‘exist but not too much’, ‘live your life away from us’, ‘be private about who you are and don’t impose yourself in the public sphere’”.
Grindr has previously been banned in several oppressive countries, including Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
In 2017, Grindr added an option for users to change the app’s icon and set a password lock on their phone, to protect them from discrimination.
However, a third party app broadcasted the exact geographical location of users all over the world late last year, putting them at serious risk of homophobic assault.
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