Ollie Locke and Jack Rogers, Chappy's co-founders / Chappy

Co-founders of new app for gay men talk to The Independent about coming out, 'hook-up culture' and d*** pics

A new dating app, specifically for gay men, has been launched with the aim to give users a choice between relationships or more casual hook ups. 

Chappy, a fusion of ‘choice’ and ‘happy’ is the brainchild of Ollie Locke – of Made in Chelsea fame – and Jack Rogers. 

Locke’s venture comes after a very public coming out after viewers of the reality television programme saw him date women including Topshop heiress Chloe Green and model Ashley James, come out as bisexual and then say he was a gay man last year.

Locke told The Independent it is partly through his experiences of using dating apps to come to terms with his own sexuality which is why he co-founded Chappy.

“I have had a really struggling coming out session in the last 10 years, it has obviously been quite well-documented but I didn’t really know what I was doing and I struggled. For me there was no platform for me to meet gay men,” he says.

The main distinguishing feature is the ‘Chappy scale’ which allows users to slide between ‘Mr Right’ to ‘Mr Right Now’ depending on whether they are looking for a relationship or something more casual. 

chappy2.jpg
Rogers and Locke (Chappy)

“It avoids the first awkward 10 minutes of chatting where you are trying to figure out what someone wants or those first three dates before one of you just wants to hook up and the other is looking for something more serious," co-founder Jack Rogers said.

Locke also stresses that you can change the scale as and when you please depending on your mood. 

The app, which can be downloaded from the app store is being rolled out in London, New York City and Los Angeles and has been backed by Whitney Wolfe, the co-founder of Tinder and CEO of Bumble – the dating app where women have to initiate the conversation. Last year she praised the shared values between Bumble and Chappy saying: “Bumble has made great strides for women in the dating scene and we believe Chappy will do the same for gay men.”

Locke echoed this praising Bumble’s responsible, feminist and quality values saying they have been incorporated into Chappy. 

One thing both men are determined to distance Chappy from is “hook-up culture”. Grindr, the most well-known existing app for gay men, and Tinder, where users can search for dates by gender, have long been associated with casual sex and hook-ups, although both apps have also been the foundation for many new millennial relationships. 

Locke says that while he was coming out, the existing gay dating platforms left him “utterly terrified”. 

“I didn’t want a d*** pic to be quite honest, I did not want someone sending me a picture of their penis immediately. I wanted to be able to find someone who I could bring to my friends who I had fallen for.”

“Both of us identified that all the apps out there at the moment are very much casual dating apps which focus on facilitating hook-ups,” Rogers adds.

He claims that these apps only further fuelled existing negative stereotypes and long-standing myths surrounding the gay dating scene.

“The stigma around gay dating is actually perpetuated by these apps… for us there is a chance to give a fresh face to gay dating and bring it into the 21st century,” Rogers says.

Similar to Tinder, the app also verifies people’s accounts through Facebook which Locke says was key to avoid those unwanted pornographic pictures. Additionally, users cannot display photos unless their faces are in it – another way in which it is priding itself on being safe for users. 

“For someone who might be 20-years-old coming out, I don’t want a 45-year-old man to send me a picture of their d***. It’s not responsible, it doesn’t feel like something be happening to a young community in 2017 and we are trying to break that,” Locke says firmly.

Rogers goes even further to say the existing apps can be “dehumanising” and “archaic” and that they do not feel safe or responsible while Locke brands them “slightly vulgar”.

While Rogers is straight so will not be on the app, Locke certainly will be and is setting his preference to Mr Right.

“I’m 30 next month and I think it is time for Mr Right,” he says.

Comments