In the midst of an anti-gay crackdown, Lebanon has now banned gay dating app Grindr.
According to the International Business Times, the Ministry of Telecom released an order that Grindr would be blocked across Touch, one of Lebanon’s top mobile networks. Despite knowing this, there has been no official statement from the government on why the ban was ordered.
Several gay rights organizations such as Lebanese non-profit SMEX and Beirut Pride have spoken out against this ban.
Beirut Pride released the following statement about the situation through Facebook.
“For some people, the application doesn’t log in; for others, profiles and conversations do not load, unless accessed from a private Wifi network,” they said before stating that the ban 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.”
“Banning an application on the public, shared network insinuates that the common space refuses to be a space for all. It confines people to the private network (home, cafés and work), thus pushing back Grindr, its users, and 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,’” they added.
Grindr later released a statement to address the situation.
“Last week Grindr users in Lebanon were unable to access their accounts. While we have confirmed it was not a technical problem on our end, we do not have further information on what caused the issue and are continuing to investigate. We can confirm that users are now able to successfully login to their accounts.”
For the moment, it appears that Lebanese app users will be without Grindr as the government refuses to even openly address the issue.