Pride+ app for LGBTQIA to connect without fear of harassment

In a revolutionary initiative, ‘Pride+’ is the world’s first social media platform exclusively designed for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pride+ app for LGBTQIA to connect without fear of harassment

Logo of the mobile app (Pride+)

In a revolutionary initiative, ‘Pride+’ is the world’s first social media platform exclusively designed for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Aayush Agrawal, its founder and CEO, says the application is a sanctuary for the people, offering Trings, communities, marketplace, jobs, chat, meditation, and more. In a world where discrimination and hate speech persist, the app provides a safe space for individuals to connect, share, and thrive without fear of harassment, he says.

In the face of numerous challenges and discouragement from investors, Agrawal took it upon himself to bring this vision to life, personally coding and building the platform from the ground up.


“A start-up takes sweat and blood. Being a creative person, I embarked on a journey to learn to code and program, and fail and try again and succeed, and rinse and repeat till I moved from one simple line to an entire app.

“Today, the app is available in more than 177 countries with upwards of 300 users at the time of this message and growing, and users are from 10 plus countries and growing,” he told The Statesman in an exclusive interview.

Asked what made him design such an application in the first place, Agrawal says many incidents prompted him to do something meaningful for the community.

“There were a lot of interactions and experiences that led me to decide to build Pride+. I was an entertainment MNC’s AVP when one day I received the regular HR daily emails. It said ‘If you get an LGBT/handicapped/female person into the company, you get this much incentive’. I was enraged,” he says.

He says companies’ approach towards the LGBT workforce is flawed at the core. He says one should not get people trotted around like trophies for damage control in the name of inclusivity.

“Educate the existing people about other genders who do not even know how many genders exist. And probably the person who will get someone into the company will enjoy the incentive but won’t know anything about their new deskmate. Nor does it help when not hiring on merit and talent. So, a curated approach was necessary,” he adds.

So does he think the public perception about the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) community has changed now that we are living in 2024?

“In the ever-evolving landscape of 2024, there has undoubtedly been progress in shaping public perception of the LGBTQIA+ community. Positive initiatives, increased representation in media, and the tireless efforts of advocates have contributed to a more inclusive environment,” he states.

Pride+ has been launched on the Apple App Store (iOS), Google Play Store (Android) and Apple Vision Pro. It gives its users complimentary access to post Trings, like them and share them, provides opportunities to post jobs or get hired, a provision to create or enter chats and have chat rooms as well as a marketplace to run businesses typically for queer members for buying and selling merchandise and services, along with communities, meditation.

Aayush Agrawal has worked with leading global broadcasting and OTT platform companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Disney and Sony Pictures.

Elaborating on how Pride+ is different from other such initiatives, Agrawal says, “Pride+ is a revolutionary step forward, transcending the limitations of other platforms, particularly in response to the recent surge in hate speech against the community on social media. Unlike dating platforms where discriminatory practices persist or instances where CEOs of those dating companies have made homophobic remarks, Pride+ is a sanctuary solely for the community, eliminating the risk of encountering prejudice.”

A user of the app who requested anonymity shared his experience of engaging with other members of the community via Pride+.

“Firstly, this app has been designed for the community by the community. This is the app’s major USP. Most importantly, I do not have to conceal my identity and I am engaging with members of the same group. This factor itself is a major deal-maker. With Pride+, I feel there are voices who hear me and also understand me. On other platforms like these, we end up getting harassed by users from outside the community,” he says.

Meanwhile, Agrawal also talked about popular cinema, especially Bollywood, portraying LGBTQ characters, and whether these help or aggravate the matter.

In the realm of popular cinema, particularly in Bollywood, Hollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, and others, the portrayal of LGBTQIA+ characters has been a mixed bag over the years. Modern cinema and OTT shows such as “Majaa Maa”, “Haddi”, “Taali” have played a pivotal role in reshaping the narrative. Like I can talk for hours why “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhaan” is such a brilliant piece not only for entertainment, but addresses so much so well, he opines.

Lastly, what do you think exactly is stopping mainstream society from embracing the community wholeheartedly?

Agrawal says the problem with mainstream society not wholeheartedly embracing the community is complex and rooted in a web of societal, cultural, and systemic challenges.

“The absence of inclusive education allows harmful stereotypes and biases to grow. I also think outdated ideas like boys do not cry or ‘mard ko dard nahi hota’ add to the bias. And who decided pink for girls and blue for boys? These outdated and regressive beliefs add to that bias,” he says.