Often, dating apps are the only dating tool for queer people. There are queer friendly spaces where social relationships can be established, however for people who do not even talk about their sexual orientation with friends, those social spaces are also less available.
According to a 2019 study by the PEW RESEARCH CENTER, more than half of queer people have used the dating app at least once, which is just 28% of the case of heterosexuals. .Predominantly, pandemic reality has changed the statistics of dating app usage because the real spaces available before aren’t not available anymore.
Illustration: Javier Zarracina / Vox
Another important detail that is different from heterosexual relationships is the problem of coming out. You will often find incognito accounts in queer dating apps, and you will often find out via texting about a person’s appearance or aspirations, which is mostly a waste of time, as evidenced even by a small survey conducted by Queer.
A total of 37 queer people took part in the survey, with 24% reporting that people stopped texting because of their appearance, and 30% reporting that app users were often looking for someone who was not dating, with the same number saying that newcomers were looking for a more masculine person.
“I, several times, posted my profile photo, I noticed that the number of matches was reduced. When a photo of a “headless horseman” is on there, many more new people are texting me, and when I show my face, they text, but sometimes they follow it up with – “Wow, everyone already knows what you are about, bro” and block me. I have noticed and if a photo of me is there or I have an Instagram attached, more real people write or they do not believe those are my pictures. I see two reasons for this: one is what I have already said and the other one is that, at such times only those who are really interested respond. I wish I had a more open account and could decide who to text to and who not. When I talk to a blank account, I have to ask a million questions, which is a bit tiring. But how easy it would be, you see the information, the photo and you decide, whether you like it or not… “- says one of the respondents.
For one of our respondents, providing information is not the solution either. Luke says people ask the same questions that are answered in the bio.
“It will be 4 years since I have Grindr, I have been using it less and less lately, I have deleted it for several months, but, in fact, there is not much space for dating without it and I downloaded it soon. I am not straightforward person who can flirt with guys and the app makes the dating process easier, but the texting rarely goes anywhere – most of them ask the same questions that I have already specified and still, on Grindr they are mainly interested in whether you are hairy or not, whether you are feminine or not. I do not know how to answer these questions – as if there are only two categories of people – feminine and masculine, but this question is asked by 9 out of 10 people, you also wonder if your name is “out there”, Coming out is rarely mentioned. I have been blocked many times because I told them my friends know about orientation — I mean, they are looking for someone who does not reveal their orientation to anyone, and I can not meet these type of people. If you want more normal communication, Tinder is much better. In my experience, they interact much healthier on Tinder, ”Luke tells us.
Nini questioned her identity for the first time recently and soon decided to use the Tinder filter to search for people of both sexes, though she tells us that she has not met a person with the app yet, one of the main reasons being biphobia.
“Last year, at the age of 24, I first liked a girl who was heterosexual and it didn’t lead anywhere. I did not think much and I downloaded Tinder. At that time I wanted someone to talk to me more than to meet them, but when they would find out that I had not had a relationship with a girl before, they would stop texting. I only met a girl who was bisexual and we talked about our struggles, bisexual people are mostly not trusted. At the time I did not even know if I was bisexual or not, but that conversation still helped me. “Even now, only a few friends know that I am Bi. I realized that it is not acceptable for many, because they consider it a loss of time, but even now bisexuality is an alarm signal.” – Says Nini.
Two other respondents named Biphobia as the reason for the termination of the correspondence, while 13 respondents said that they would stop the correspondence themselves, citing a lack of common interests. Dating apps are used a lot for one-on-one meetings, though some respondents say that is why they stop corresponding. 79% of respondents consider establishing solid links on dating sites more or less possible, while 21% believe that establishing solid relationships on dating sites is impossible.
A large proportion of people surveyed cite homophobic messages of aggressive content as the reason for the end of communication, which Lucas also has experience with. He said there are numerous homophobic encounters in gay dating apps that are much more aggressive.
“Most of the correspondence is probably mostly negative for people who are not just looking for sex. Texting on dating sites is like a bargain. Want a face, body photo, data about their life, most are just looking for a virtual encounter, but they do not tell you this directly. Sex is not acceptable for me on the first date, in general, I prefer to add people to another social network and meet after dating, but most of them are expecting an incognito meeting on the same day, and if you prefer texting, they do not shy away from homophobic messages. For many, gay sex is simply entertainment and they consider themselves heterosexual. A few people, when they heard that I was gay, wrote abusive messages to me and blocked me, many even indicated that they were looking for masculine understanding and friendship, they even find it awkward to mention the word “sex”. If you have a problem with self-esteem, you are not sure about your orientation or you just have a bad period, you may feel bad or think that what you are looking for is wrong. I met the only person on the site with whom I still make friends and periodically correspond. I have a hatred and attachment to dating apps, I can not use the site and it is difficult to delete because I feel isolated,” – said Luke, adding that he had to make an appointment several times, which failed – ” Even if I came and did not like it, such cases in themselves have a negative effect. After these experiences, I think a lot more before the meeting, I try to get to know the person better, if I just want to have one-time sex, I prefer to make sure that he is really the person in the pictures.”
One of the participants in the Queer survey goes through the same path before the meeting as Luke, trying to make sure he’s texting a trusted person.
“I stop texting if I notice aggression, if there is another photo on the profile and then another one appears. Even if they are selfish and overconfident or insulting or send an unaesthetic, tasteless nude photos, the most important is photo of their face, I need to know who is texting and if it is a blank account, I ask in the beginning and if they refuse I do not continue texting them. I still try to check if it is real, it is often that they send me photos of someone else. They even sent me a nude photo of themselves and so, I ask Instagram and if they refuse, I lose a little trust, I may even lose desire. I also understand that personal information needs to be taken care of in this environment, ”said the respondent.
24% of respondents evaluate the experience gained while using dating apps negatively, 54% – neutrally, and for 22% the experience is positive. However, 49% no longer use dating apps, and 30% use them once a week or more infrequently. The 19 people surveyed also rated their experience while traveling abroad. According to 13 people, they have a better travel experience compared to Georgia.
Main photo: Getty Image
Author: Giorgi Baskhajauri