Matrimony.com launches app catering to LGBTQIA+ community | The Financial Express

Matrimony.com launches app catering to LGBTQIA+ community

While same sex marriages are not legal in India, the matchmaking portal told FE that there is a good demand for serious and long-term relationships from the LGBTIQ+ community

Matrimony.com launches app catering to LGBTQIA+ community
According to 2012 government data basis self enumeration or declaration done by the community members, there are 2.5 million people in the LGBT community in India

In a first in India, Matrimony.com, a BSE listed company, has launched a matchmaking platform catering to the entire LGBTQIA+ community, called RainbowLuv. So far, the various dating applications or platforms available are either for gender binary individuals allowing the people from the community to join it and look for matches, or are those serving only lesbians or gays, the company said.

While same sex marriages are not legal in India, the matchmaking portal told FE that there is a good demand for serious and long-term relationships from the LGBTIQ+ community, which has so far remained unmet through the various portals available in the dating arena.

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Given the stigma that continues to be attached with the community, one of the major problems that the community faces is that if they are looking for a partner, it is treated as being only in the realm of sexual relationships. “But that is not true. Just like any binary person who looks for a relationship of a long term nature either to be married or for companionship, even the LGBT community craves for these relationships, and none of the players whether Indian or overseas are offering that kind of a service,” said Arjun Bhatia, chief marketing officer, Matrimony.com.

While there is a paucity of data available on the community, according to 2012 government data basis self enumeration or declaration done by the community members, there are 2.5 million people in the LGBT community in India, said Bhatia. “Basis the trend in other countries which are open to collect this information, we estimate that given India’s population of 1.4 billion, easily LGBT community will be 10 million to as high as 190 million. For any community anytime between 25 and 30% of the population is in the marriageable or matchmaking age, so that is the kind of audience we are looking at serving,” he said.

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With the aim to appeal to a larger audience and a strong social connotation, the subscription charges have been kept over 50% below the charges on the company’s Bharat Matrimony portal, he said. The three month subscription will be for `2,999 with unlimited chats and EOIs. Six month will cost `4,399 and the year long package is for `8,999.

According to Bhatia, the current apps and ecosystem are not 100% or entirely inclusive as those apps are serving either the lesbian or the gay community. “Our platform is serving the entire community, from lesbians to gays, queers, asexuals, intersex…there are over 45 gender identities within the community,” he said.

Another differentiator that he called out for the app is that since different community members basis their sexuality have their orientations, the currently available apps have their limitations in describing these orientations and pronouns that the community members are comfortable with, which RainbowLuv will allow.

Given the sensitivity and still the vulnerability of the community, the portal has also built in systems to prevent instances of verbal or physical abuse against the members, by making it mandatory for all members to share any of their government IDs at the time of registration. This is synced at the backend to check the authenticity of the person. Also, to check fake profile issues that come up in most dating and matrimony portals and apps there is an added layer of selfie verification, which is checked through artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that the company employs.

Additionally, only paid members of the app get to send expressions of interest or initiate chats with other members. And unlike in several other such apps where a paid member can get access to the mobile numbers of the other members, RainbowLUV will prevent that. The members consent will be needed before any personal contact details can be accesses by anyone. Without paying the person can create a profile and search matches basis their sexual orientation, location, age, income, occupation, but will not be able to send EOI or initiate a conversation.

“All this is done to maintain the seriousness because we are not another dating, fling or a casual dating app. It is more of a committed and serious relationship app that we are looking at. Also, as we seek government IDs and other credentials, it will act as a big deterrent for anyone outside the community to get in for the purpose of mischief,” Bhatia said. The app is available through Google PlayStore and Apple’s App Store. As popular digital platforms restrict marketing of the service to community digitally, matrimony.com will be working closely with the community who are socially active through Instagram, Facebook, or associated with NGOs to spread the awareness.

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