It’s with great sadness that I announce the death of Henry Badenhorst, the co-founder of Gaydar who died on Saturday 11 November 2017.
It’s rather poignant that just last week I wrote a piece in my blog to honour his partner Gary who is being honoured at this week’s Gay Times honours for Success in Entrepreneurship. Everyone at Gaydar HQ is deeply saddened by the loss.
The old legend goes that Henry and Gary created Gaydar to help out a friend who didn’t have time to find a boyfriend. I’ve always found this such a sweet and human thing to do. These days, you might “create a profile” for a friend to help them to find someone. In fact, Henry and Gary created the idea of having a profile, a place where you could show off the best bits about yourself.
It’s been a long time since Henry and Gary’s vision of meeting people based on putting yourself forward through words, photos and videos came to life. Today we swipe left with less than a second to look at someone’s face. The idea that we were more than a face is a rather romantic one when you think about it.
The concept of an online profile proved to be remarkably powerful for gay men, trans people, and subsequently for women too. Not only could we connect with others online all over the world, we suddenly also found a courage and confidence we might not have had in a bar or a club, let alone our day-to-day lives.
Gaydar became a lifeline for men and women (GaydarGirls) who don’t live in cities and built up areas. Our chat rooms became a place they could finally connect with like-minded people and share their own thoughts and experiences.
Henry was the money man – the financial know how to balance out Gary’s outgoing nature. Yet for a man who was so great with numbers he was incredibly gentle. Our Customer Service Manager said in remembrance of Henry ‘While he was mostly in his office running the business, Henry was always a very compassionate boss who put the well-being of all of his 70 employees first. You could always knock on his door to ask for help or advice.’
We’d be remiss to honour Henry without reflecting on the passion that he had for bringing people together (and doing so with a sense of humour!)
Under his leadership, he rolled out innovative and world-class marketing campaigns, creating GaydarGirls and expanding the brand to include GaydarRadio. He even brought the Gaydar experience to life at London-based Profile Bar where people could meet face-to-face rather than behind a screen. Gaydar became a sponsor of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and created the hugely successful ‘Gay Dayz’ events at UK theme parks Thorpe Park and Alton Towers.
So many people have commented on Twitter, Facebook and in the comments section of various news articles about how they met a friend, a loved one or a lover on Gaydar and I’d like to think that today we can be extra grateful to have them in our lives.
For now, however, we are left with sadness and loss. I couldn’t put it better than the words of a member of the team who said “One thing is certain. He will be sorely missed and always have a special place in our hearts”.
As we plan for the next phase of Gaydar, I promise you that we will honour Henry and Gary’s legacy and make them both proud.
Note: I’m very grateful to Patrick Strudwick at Buzzfeed for the gracious and compassionate way in which he announced Henry’s passing.