Should we have dedicated features for LGBT+ members?

Same to you, Philip and Hugh!! Your feedback and input is appreciated!

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I personally think having a orientation flag or field is perfectly fine as opposed to on CS where you can pretty much infer it, most of the time, rather just have that stated explicitly as opposed to implicitly.

In my experience, most LGBT people who are out might avoid going back into the closet, but don’t necessarily find it relevant when it comes to hosting. While I can’t say I have much experience as a guest in the last 15 years, I do know that as a host during that time, it’s always a personal choice to come out or discuss with guests. Sometimes it comes up organically, sometimes not at all, but I certainly wouldn’t bring it up unless it was clear they were comfortable with it.

I do know that LGBT people might face difficulty getting hosting unless from other LGBT people, but as a result most try to hide it or just make their own profiles as neutral as possible in order to raise their chances. This is all the case even in a gay friendly country where I live.

If anything, without being centrally LGBT focused, a “safe space” might be more appropriate and more all-encompassing (LGBT, religion, gender etc.). Though, admittedly I was very shrewd about vetting profiles as a hoster, and as a result I kept my profile as honest and open book as I could. I almost never had negative experiences. Having said this, surfers might encounter more issues about which I’m ignorant.

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Hi @oskyldig! Welcome to the community :slight_smile:

That’s interesting! Could you say more on that? How would you see a safe space within Couchers?

Not sure how much I could elaborate on that, but it’s something that is used in schools to indicate teachers have a no tolerance for certain behaviour (violence, harassment, hate speech etc.), the downside is it sort of oppositly implies that there are unsafe places. Many school environments try to implement no-tolerance policies about bullying but it’s often not effective as individual personalities may differ or people rather turn a blind eye than stand up. It’s a bit naive to think that an entire community can exist without, but I understand the ideal.

I think that safe space label on profiles is a bit more broad term that might resonate and be safer alternative to something LGBT-related. As others have said, being homosexual in a lot of places is unacceptable or punishable, but tolerance can not be defined or punished as easily. It kind of goes along with the idea that having thoughts isn’t necessarily bad, but acting on them is. The word safe space can resonate with LGBT-community members, or even people that have generally been bullied or harassed, or other minorities. It’s not one specific group.

As for creating a community, can’t say that I have an answer as I’ve never seen a community without some type of harassment. If you mean dedicated features it might be as simple membership to groups that aren’t visible publicly, but even then people can find what they are looking for in non-anonymous settings. Since I’ve never seen the solution myself, unfortunately my mind isn’t innovative enough to imagine it. As side-note, I think that’s something that lot of LGBT people grow up with thinking about: no matter where they are and how out and proud they are, there is always going to be times where they have to hide that part of who they are. As a result most get pretty good at code-switching.

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Yes, on the forum we decided against having different standards for that reason. Right now we have general Guidelines that address content standards everywhere. So far it works quite well, but it’s also a small community.

We also decided against having special groups with distinguished discussions on the forum, because we don’t want to segment the community. One thing we came up with instead is offering the option to have an ‘official’ notice for topics that address a specific groups’ concerns and want that to be especially respected: like this topic notice.

What I could imagine having on the app is dedicated support groups, like @support and @event_hosts and possibly several more. We could still just have one overall Support team. But users could address a specific group and only members of that specific teams would be notified.

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I agree with your suggestions. It is a very difficult question to answer. Even people who identify as LGBT (which includes me although I don’t usually want to be labelled unless it helps the discussion) have differing requirements and expectations. I like the idea of an all-inclusive approach where everyone feels valued and protected. This would obviate the need for gender and orientation based differences, unless people prefer to have it that way. Whatever is offered, there will be people who disagree. I like to be honest and provide true information about myself on my profile so that people who are not ok with this can save themselves and me the trouble of possibly complicated situations. On the other hand, there are people who are in cultures or situations where they cannot be so open about themselves on their profiles. How can they be made to feel welcome and/or protected ? I fear that this may be a topic which has no single correct answer.


Hello folks, LGBT guy here. I can’t really think of any dedicated features for LGBT+ members, but I find @tina’s suggestion very good. @Jesse says

I believe Tina’s suggestion would accomplish that.

Not just being able to select that relationship as part of your profile, but making it a mandatory part of it. By default, you are either a part of the LGBT community or you don’t have a problem with them at all.


Actually I don´t want badges like this. I don´t like gamifications or to host in order to to score game points. It should be made optional, or I just would take care not to host LGBT persons. As few compulsory badges as possible, please.

The whole thread makes me confused. For some people a certain religion is a very important part of their lives, and they put it on their profiles. For others it´s important but not in a Couchers context. For others gender preferences are important, others just don´t care. In Couchers or in other contexts, beloning to the LGBT group or not. To make it obligatory is like demanding certain people to walk around with a yellow badge on their clothes.

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I also don’t like this idea. Gamification is good but people of a certain identity should not be considered “tokens” for other people to earn.


Sometimes it’s good to revisit the initial intention:

I started this topic because we had quite some discussion about gender issues. There were arguments to have the possibility to filter by gender or even restrict visibility of profiles to certain gender. Others argued to not fragment the community with such distinctions and rather focus attention on having a safe environment overall. But these discussions were also strongly about men trying to date women on the platform.

If we’d introduce gender filters and safety features, I think it’s important to reflect how these would play out across a wider gender spectrum. So the intention of this topic is to collect some feedback on this and I believe we did hear quite a range of interesting thoughts already.

Ultimately I think the most inclusive thing for trans/nonbinary people would be to have pronouns listed on profiles and not specific gender markers. I know that gender markers are an important deciding factor for some hosts/surfers, so I understand that may not be possible. Maybe the gender filtering features could be based on pronouns instead? For most people it would be the same as basing it on gender markers, but it would make things a little easier for trans/nonbinary people.

The difference between the two is that gender markers can be more complicated for some trans/nonbinary people than pronouns, especially if their presentation doesn’t specifically fit into one category. I think that basing it on pronouns could make things more simple and then if people want they can elaborate in their bio.

Having the male/female/nonbinary markers creates more rigid expectations for people than the pronouns options. As a nonbinary person I don’t really feel comfortable listing it on my profile, since its more personal and because people might have misconceptions about it that could affect my ability to make connections. However, I also don’t really feel comfortable choosing man/woman because I don’t want to give people the wrong expectations, especially since I have had top surgery etc. This is the case for many transfeminine and transmasculine people who are nonbinary but use he/him or she/her pronouns.

Gender is complicated! It would be easier going into it with just pronouns listed and then people can discuss it if they want. I personally prefer getting to know people without going into all of it at first, same as sexuality.

If that isn’t feasible, I think a smaller change to make things more inclusive would be giving people the ability to change their own gender on their profiles and having admin approve the change afterwards. It’s not a big difference from the current system, but I know that a lot of trans/nonbinary people would feel too uncomfortable emailing admins to ask for a gender marker change.

It’s a difficult topic to explain, so let me know if you need any clarifications!


Couchers do currently have pronouns. I don’t know if you can completely opt out your gender, though. I think you still need to pick between male, female (and I was told there is also “other”) ? I was thinking of changing the gender on my profile myself- we are in fact a couple so it would feel more accurate to have “other” or nothing at all but emailing to admins stopped me (I didn’t want to bother anyone). Can’t imagine to email admins if I was trans/nonbinery.


My wording was misleading I apologize, I meant profiles having just pronouns instead of pronouns and gender marker. It’s wonderful that the pronouns feature already exists! Also great point about how the gender markers don’t work with group accounts

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We did have the option to change gender yourself previously. The reason it was taken out was because when we eventually implement gender-based options (hiding, filters, whatever it may look like), someone could just change their gender temporarily to evade this.

I agree having to email isn’t an ideal solution though.


That makes total sense. Do you think it would be better with an admin approval requirement before the gender marker officially changes? That way people can request the change in their profile settings instead and it’ll just show “gender change requested” or something until the approval goes through

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Yes, we will need members to mark their gender for the options @lucas mentioned. But on the other hand, do we indeed need to present it on their profile?

We should certainly have the pronouns on the profile overview, as they are important to know about another member.

But for the gender options to work, it would actually be sufficient to have the gender marker in Account Settings. We already have the note about contacting support to change your gender label right there. It seems sensible to have the marker there as well, same as other personal information that will not be changeable on the fly, like verified date of birth or name.


That sounds great to me!

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Though if we don’t have the gender marker publicly visible, what would stop guys from just marking their gender as female (while showing pronouns he/him) and making all the considered gender filters useless? We certainly wouldn’t want to start ‘verifying’ the gender marker…


Good point. Maybe pronouns could be included with the gender marker in that you request support to change them, or you change them in your settings and admin approves it?