After carving out a niche as the first dating app by and for queer women, Her is broadening its mission. Today, the app formerly known as Dattch is launching a Communities feature — kind of like a set of mini queer subreddits — to let people connect around interests and identity as a group.
“We spent the past three years bringing people together in one on one conversations and introductions — communities is about taking it beyond the one on one,” Her founder Robyn Exton told TechCrunch.
“We started paying attention to the number of queer spaces that are closing,” Exton said, noting that women’s centers, lesbian bars, queer bookshops and other queer IRL spaces are closing in record numbers in recent years. “We actually think they’re needed more than ever.”
Her’s new Communities feature aims to create a digital version of those collective queer spaces, letting users connect with interest and identity-based groups, with message boards custom built for Her’s unique user base. Users can post content in Communities or follow another person’s feed to stay up to date on what’s going in the Her universe.
A curated starter pack of Communities launches today, though Exton plans to add more over time with the potential for user-generated Communities and pop-ups around specific events. The first set includes a space for queer women of color, one centered around mindfulness and wellbeing and another for news and entertainment, among others.
The categories are pretty broad for now, but it sounds like Her plans to adapt Communities to whatever its users end up wanting. That flexibility coupled with Exton’s commitment to maintaining a space that’s “so ragingly queer” set Her apart from dating apps that generally fumble any dating experience that isn’t explicitly for straight people or gay men.
Her also plans to push toward internationalization in 2018 to grow its 3 million registered users. The app is already live in 55 countries and its largest non-English speaking markets are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines. The app will host events tailored toward each of those locales in the coming year.
Just in time for Pride Month, Her is also launching a rebrand aimed at making the app more inclusive and reflective of what Exton calls “the future of fluidity that we believe in.”
“Our community and our audience has changed hugely, even in the last three years,” Exton said. “We needed to reflect that as a brand.”
According to Exton, there’s been a massive spike in Her users under the age of 29 describing their gender as non-binary or their sexuality as pansexual — a shift reflective of language and identity evolution in the queer community at large. The language of the rebrand describes a vision in which “sexuality and gender are found on a spectrum, where labels remain but are not set in stone.”
Exton hopes that Communities will create meaningful spaces in which Her users can gather and explore their own identities as they evolve and change. “So much queerness that happens inside of Her,” Exton said. “People describe it as feeling like you’re coming home.”