Most people have at least one online dating horror story. It’s a rite of passage that single people tend to hate.
For members of the LGBTQ community, however, the horror stories are a little different. In addition to the classic, awkward hinge-date anecdotes and cheesy biography screenshots leaking secondhand with embarrassment, gay singles deal with all sorts of alienating interactions. Unfounded sex history questioning, molestation, and fetishization—some of it from straight cis people who shouldn’t have been on your feed in the first place—don’t exactly make butterflies.
Still, dating apps have become a crucial vehicle of introduction for gays looking to settle down. A 2019 Stanford study and a 2020 Pew Research survey found that meeting online has become the most popular way for US couples to connect — particularly for gay couples, 28 percent of whom met their current partner online met (versus 11 percent of heterosexual couples).
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But the Pew poll also revealed those ugly experiences of harassment. This is where options that exclude straight users, like HER and Grindr, could come into play. Their perfectly tailored environments are so well known in the gay community that they’re essentially in a league of their own.
Is Grindr the only option for gay dating apps?
While Grindr and HER are big players, they are not alone in the queer dating app market. There are apps like Zoe, Taimi and Scruff. But their stagnant popularity can be attributed to similar complaints: too many scam profiles and not enough legitimate users (those within reasonable distance to schedule a date, anyway). Chappy was a promising gay men’s app that was shut down when it started gaining serious traction.
And at the end of the day, “everyone” apps are just where there are masses of queer users. Keeping Tinder on the back burner isn’t just for straight people, especially those living in less populated areas where Grindr and HER offer slim pickings. Also, some mainstream apps deserve credit for the steps they’ve taken to create a more inclusive atmosphere. Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge now offer many options for sexual orientation and gender identity. OkCupid gets credit for making this change years ago and making social justice a core part of compatibility ratings – which curates the nature of people in the app itself.
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If you are part of the LGBTQ community and hate to leave your home, you are not alone. Here are the best dating apps and websites that will maximize your options while minimizing your human contact. Bless.