Not everyone uses a dating app to hook up with someone for casual sex.In fact many people use dating apps to connect with like-minded people for friendship.Online dating apps are also used to meet like-minded people, to form communities, and to disseminate information about sexual and reproductive health.Blocking the apps thus deprives LGBT Indonesians of important opportunities to overcome the many difficulties they face as stigmatised sexual minorities.One gay man in Bali explained that ‘we all just use Tinder now [because the other apps are banned] and there’s no way that the politicians are going to ban it’. Emilio, a 22-year-old trans man who works as a barista in an international food hall, says he likes using Wapa because it’s simple and has a feature called ‘who’s tracking me’ that lets you know who is looking at your profile.Emilio also likes Wapa because it’s Jakarta specific.The ability to safely link into an LGBT community online became increasingly important in the wake of the 2016 ‘LGBT crisis.’ Dimas, a 21-year-old gay man studying at a private university says there are many advantages of using apps such as Grindr. Because society often thinks being LGBT is taboo there is limited space in the off-line world for LGBT people to connect.
Tara also uses the app Her because, even though straight and gay men use it, most of the users are lesbians and bisexual women.
The prevalence of smartphones means dating apps such as Grindr and Wapa have had high usage among LGBT Indonesians.
Recently, however, several dating apps, including Grindr, Blued and Boy Ahoy, have been blocked.
Transgender Indonesians use a lot of different dating apps, sometimes concurrently and sometimes consecutively.
Favourites include Badoo, Grindr, Hornet, Jack D, Skout, Wapa and We Chat.