Despite the many (many) pitfalls, the appeal of online dating or using a dating site is that it gives us the opportunity to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise meet. The perfect person for you could be living just a few miles away, but if you don’t run in the same circles or have some rom-com style chance interaction at the post office, you might never meet. Online dating opens up your world to more than just the same fifty people you see at work or the gym and presents you with a whole world of other possibilities – at least Russian dating in theory.
Coming across fake profiles is not the only thing singles have to consider. The biggest problem with most dating apps is that they cater pretty exclusively to straight people. Even the apps that include gay dating options for gay singles do so within a very narrow definition of the term. For people who don’t quite fit the binary “male/female” and “gay/straight” paradigm, most dating apps can be pretty frustrating, if not downright, exclusionary to app users.
With this in mind, we rolled up our sleeves and started downloading all the dating apps we could find in search of the best queer and LGBT dating apps. Here’s what we found:
What Exactly is the Definition of Queer?
If we’re going to talk about the best queer dating apps, it probably helps to start by talking about the definition of queer. After all, in our society, the words gay and queer often get used pretty interchangeably. However, there is a reason that “queer” gets its very own letter in LGBTQ. The definition of queer is very different than the definition of gay. And because a general lack of understanding about the difference between these two words seems to lie at the heart of why great queer dating apps are so hard to come by, we wanted to take a second to define queer.
While the word “gay” refers to anyone who is prie sex, the definition of queer is much broader and does not refer exclusively to a queer man or woman. According to PFLAG, “queer” is more of an umbrella term that can refer to “anyone who a) wants to identify as queer and b) who feels somehow outside of the societal norms in regards to gender or sexuality.” Basically, people identifying as queer find the traditional definitions of binary gender and sexual orientation problematic for one reason or another. They might be gay, bisexual, or asexual. They might be gender-fluid or transgender. They might be any combination of all of these. On the broad spectrum of sexuality, “queer” is a full rainbow unto itself.
What Most Dating Sites Don’t Understand About Queer Dating
While online dating used to carry a certain stigma, these days as many as one third of married couples begin their relationships online. It’s no surprise then that online dating has become a 2 billion dollar industry. The largest internet dating sites like Match and OKCupid boast 59 million users and 30 million users respectively. With so many people – straight and otherwise – taking to the internet to find their next relationship, it might lead some to wonder why people who identify as queer can’t just use the same dating apps as everyone else. But for those of us who’ve tried our hand at queer dating online, we know it’s not that simple.
The main issue lies in the extremely limited way that most dating apps allow their users to identify their gender and orientation – as well as their preferences regarding both. For instance, many dating apps only allow users to identify as either “male” or “female,” sexual orientation is limited to “gay,” “straight,” or “bi,” and what a user is looking for is limited to “men,” “women,” or “both.” What’s an asexual lady or a FAAB trans gentleman to do? The main appeal of online dating is that it allows users to search by specific parameters to find potentially compatible people. Still, for people whose gender identity and sexual orientation are more complex than the options they are given, this search functionality becomes virtually useless.