“Keep Lex gross”: Users comment on queer dating app’s new address

“Keep Lex gross”: Users comment on queer dating app’s new address

Lex, the social and hookup app that launched in 2019 with a nod to 1980s lesbian relationships, is changing. Exactly how much will change remains to be seen. Sure, the Venture-backed startup behind the queer app gave it a fresh coat of paint last week, but with the rebranding to “friends and community,” some users are concerned that Lex will strip away its beloved sassy essence, too. .

The text-based service, which hosts quirky and wholesome personals, has evolved in recent years into something of a queer community diary: a place for women, trans, genderqueers, and non-binary people to post dates, find concert tickets, and write poems. parts. , make inside jokes or just browse. Given its breadth and silliness, the app inspires smiles and swoons in equal measure from the odd people I know.

Lex fills a need that traditional technology often avoids; Craigslist, known for its revolutionary newspaper advertising, ended its online advertising capacity a year before the launch of the Lex. Social giants such as Meta and Tik Tok, on the other hand, have a predominantly puritanical attitude towards sex and sexuality. Apple, which sets the ground rules for great apps through its App Store, is also completely hypocritical. The censorship-prone gatekeepers of technology, as well as the wider pattern of companies cleaning up queer culture and then monetizing it, have made many LGBTQIA+ individuals quite wary of social media.

So it’s no surprise that Lex’s announcement of a “new look” and “new address” pissed people off, even with the thirsty messages on the app.

Lex posted his redesign on Jan. 26, highlighting his role in helping people find “LGBTQ+ friends and the queer community.” A press release details the app’s evolution “from a dating app to a vibrant social platform,” while a Instagram message from the company highlighted a shift from personal ads to group chats and meetings. Using a “how it all started” meme, the startup compared its origins (sharing lesbian and personal photos on Instagram) to a post for a “buns and jelly” trans tea.

But is Lex trying to improve himself by not doing this? The uproar I saw in response to the redesign wasn’t universal, but it came quickly.

“WTflex…queer fuck is sacred, not a commodity,” said one user in a public post. Another wrote: “We love it 🥵 😘🫦. I appreciate the efforts to improve Lex for platonic gay relationships, but I hate the new culture of cleaning up the internet and removing our sexuality from all platforms.”

The new Lex is green. Old Lex was blue

Others both praised and criticized Lex’s new look. One user said the redesign made the app more inviting, while another called it beautiful. I weighed in on the app’s new color scheme and said, “It’s not easy being green. but at least it’s not twitter.” (I completely forgot that TechCrunch used a similar tone… oops!) I asked for more feedback on the new direction through the app itself and heard from a dozen people, most of whom were somewhat concerned.

Lily, a Lex user, told me she hated the change. “Queer spaces trying to get away from being sex-oriented = giving in to a homophobic society,” he said, clarifying: “People used to use this app for all sorts of things, so there’s no reason to encourage ‘social’ use.” , unless we try to talk about other uses (e.g. sex).” Another user said the app looked more subversive before the redesign.”I’m definitely in the ‘keep Lex dirty’ camp,” they added.

One user told me: “There are plenty of social networks. What I liked most about the original Lex was the Craigslist feel. Another user warned: “There is a lot more at stake in cleaning up an old queer dating app. Just look at the annual Pride debate and how often it is said that if we want to win our gay rights there must be no sign of sexuality in the hallways.”

Later, a new user who joined after the redesign said he saw the complaints and felt like “I missed this lol”.

When asked about the app’s direction, Lex founder Kel Rakowski told TechCrunch that the company “surveyed thousands of Lexers and found that the vast majority wanted a platform to find friends and a queer community close to them.” Rakovsky pointed me to a user log page and said that Lex pays users for their comments. The founder and CEO went on to say that Lex’s “all-gay team” has “all product decisions under control.” He added: “Our investors never interfere with Lex’s vision.”

On sex, Rakovsky said, “We encourage lexers looking for dates and dates to keep posting horny Lex! It’s their space to connect, for love, friendship and more.”

According to Lex’s Terms of Service page, the company last updated its policy on November 1, 2022. Lex’s terms define content as “any text, image, video, audio, or other material.” In other words, the company retains its ability to delete sexy posts, but that doesn’t mean it’s actively doing so. This is pretty standard language, standard in terms of application terms. In the founder’s words, “One of the reasons we built Lex as an app and stopped hosting it on Instagram was to be independent and avoid meta-regulations.”

When asked, Lex declined to say how many people use his app, but Rakovsky said the service is “growing rapidly in cities across the United States.” and that the “capitals are New York, Chicago [and] DE.” The 10-person team behind Lex has raised at least $1.5 million to date from investors including Corigin Ventures, the Bumble Fund and bonobo founder Andy Dunn.

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Source: La Neta Neta