India's Matrimony.com launches app catering to LGBTQIA+ community

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A participant stands behind a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, in Chennai

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian matchmaking site Matrimony.com Ltd has launched a new app catering to the members of the LGBTQIA+ community, the company said on Tuesday, as it expands to cover a bigger section of the society.

The company is looking at an addressable market of about 11 million to 13 million for the app, Rainbowluv, it said in a statement, although there is no official data on the LGBT+ population in India.

"When it comes to serious matchmaking, the LGBTQIA+ community has been largely underserved and we wanted to provide a safe and trusted platform for them," Chief Marketing Officer Arjun Bhatia said in a statement.

The app includes more than 45 gender identities, 122 orientation tags and 48 pronouns, and would require members to register with government issued identity cards to ensure safety, the company said in a statement.

India's top court lifted a colonial-era ban on gay sex on Sept. 6, 2018, to improve the rights for the LGBTQIA+ community in the country, but same-sex marriage does not have legal sanction.

With the launch of Rainbowluv, Matrimony.com, which competes with Shaadi.com, will also take on apps such as Grindr and As You Are.

Matrimony, which owns and operates around 300 marriage-related services, earlier this year launched Jodii, an app that covers nine regional languages to reach a broader swath of the country.

Its array of services helped the company post a 14% growth in paid subscribers for the first quarter of FY23, Matrimony.com said last month.

($1 = 79.8750 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nishit Navin in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)