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.
The fact that dating apps are largely segregated by sexual preference was seen as a positive by people we talked to because it enabled users to quickly find suitable friends and partners.
LGBT sex workers also use the apps to increase access to potential clients.
Blocking the apps means that when people try to use them, empty profiles are loaded and no photos or links can be accessed.
While the Police Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) asked the Ministry of Information to block these apps on the specific – but spurious – grounds that they were being used by paedophiles to pimp teenage boys out to men, it is important to recognise that such moves come on the back of the anti-LGBT crisis plaguing Indonesia since January 2016.
Not everyone uses a dating app to hook up with someone for casual sex.
Emilio also likes Wapa because it’s Jakarta specific.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.However, as with all things associated with sexuality, app choice and app use is fluid and not everyone on a particular app fulfills the criteria; moreover, people may use fake photos of themselves to construct an identity.People often get introduced to dating apps through friends and acquaintances.Daddy Hunt is a site to use if you are looking for a daddy-type partner.’ One thus chooses the app according to what type of sexual or romantic partner is desired – and if someone is into both chubby and hairy guys both Growlr and Scruff might be installed.Choosing an appropriate app increases the chance of a hook-up or relationship.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.The virtual world provides an opportunity for LGBT Indonesians to safely connect with each other.Yet many gay men also reported downloading an app based on the specific type of sexual partner they are looking for.As Hendri Yulius, an Indonesia LGBT activist and frequent contributor to , noted in personal communication, ‘Growlr is for “chub-chasers” – it’s a site you use if you are looking for a chubby sexual partner – while Scruff is a site you use if you are looking for hairy guys or guys with stubble.