Chris on How Making Connections Works Best When You Can Be Your True Self

Posted on:
June 14, 2022
Making connections works best when you can be your true self. Chris Tirabassi, Senior Product Designer at Tinder, shares how Tinder provided him with a place to be himself. Now, he’s making sure the app continues to be a safe space for everyone.

I live in West Hollywood, where it's hard not to notice Pride month—it feels like the whole city is part of it. The celebration is everywhere here, alongside an acknowledgment of all the struggles that came before and how blessed we are that the world around us is becoming much more accepting of different identities. When I was in the process of coming out, I wasn’t in a community like this, and apps like Tinder created an opportunity to discover who else was out there. I didn't really have gay friends or people I felt I could talk to, so using Tinder just to start conversations with people made me feel less alone. I know I’m not the only person who has struggled with this, and so I'm grateful that apps like Tinder existed then, and I’m honored to be part of the team making the app even more inclusive and safe now.

There’s a real push at Tinder to ensure the app is welcoming to the queer community. Right now, the design team is working on a project called All Inclusive, which is taking all kinds of big steps in that direction. Gen Z in particular is more fluid than any generation that came before—we see a huge influx of people who identify as anything other than straight. People feel more able to express their true identities and Tinder is giving people a platform to do that. This work is important to me because I know what it’s like to need a way to both discover and express yourself. It's great to be in a position to design products that help people find their own path.

As a team, we’re also always working on making our app as safe and fun as possible. A new feature in the works will allow us to verify identities using facial recognition technology. Selfie verification compares the photos you have on your profile with a selfie you’ve taken on your phone. People feel safer knowing someone is the person they say they are. 

Allyship comes from the top down here. Our CEO has made it clear that her top initiatives are about improving the experience for LGBTQ+ and female users. People take notice of those cues from leadership, and those at Tinder see the value in the inclusive work we’re doing and they are allies. I feel like it's much more common to come across LGBTQ+ people at Tinder than at any other company I’ve worked for. We were introduced to all the employee resource groups (ERGs) at Tinder on day one of orientation so new hires would become aware that there’s a support system and community at Tinder. Knowing that makes me feel very comfortable. Tinder also does a really good job of highlighting all of the various ERGs and encouraging us to learn more about all the different communities we represent—to be allies regardless of how we identify.