“You have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find your prince.” – E.L. James
My dear queer children,
To continue our little chat on dating in college, I decided that one of the most important and relevant aspects of the college dating is online dating dating. Even though people may be more comfortable with their sexuality and/or gender identity in college, many are still figuring out their identity. As a result, they may not be out of the closet but still want to explore their sexuality and gender identity.
This is where dating apps are helpful for LGBTQ+ people who are not out of the closet. LGBTQ+ individuals can make an online profile that has some information about who they are, what they like to do, and what they are looking for through the dating app. They can choose not to include a public picture on Tinder, or they can crop an image that has everything except their face. Thus, their identity remains anonymous and they can still try to find someone to chat with through dating apps.
However, if you are in the closet and engage in online dating, not showing who you are on dating apps can get a little messy. People may be frustrated that they cannot see who you are. They may block you the second after you send them a picture of your face because they may be only in it for the physical attraction. Someone may also out you if they find your profile and recognize that your online profile matches who you are in real life. So while online dating may be a convenience, it can also bring about some consequences for closeted people.
In general, online dating for LGBTQ+ people can be rewarding. You can meet other LGBTQ+ people and make new friends. You can randomly get the other person’s number and go on a spontaneous date. You may even find a long-term relationship. There are many stories about people who have developed friendships and relationships via dating apps.
However, online dating can be frustrating. Many of my conversations on dating apps end with people wanting to have sex with me. Others chats end after a few messages because the other person and I can’t hold a conversation. Also, the ideal type for many gay men is a lean to muscular, tall, white, well-off, gay man. Anyone who does not fit this mold in the slightest is often ignored or forgotten.
Despite these frustrations, I still encourage you to take part in online dating if you’re looking to meet new people. I have met some amazing, caring people who I still chat with today through online dating, such as my friend Devin. We get coffee every time I’m back home for a few weeks and catch up. Also, online dating can help you figure out your identity and challenge your perspective. My contact with transgender and gender non-conforming people increased through online dating, and these chats have challenged my thinking and my identity. Now, I identify as being genderqueer, and I think that I would have not gotten to this stage of my identity had I not been in contact with other queer people.
Above all, be careful with online dating. Despite how well-intentioned people may seem while you chat with them, they may not be the people that they say they are. There are people who want to use you for your body, who want to prey on you and your desire to meet other people, who just don’t really care about your well-being. I don’t mean to scare you! It’s just an unfortunate reality that we as LGBTQ+ people particularly face because some heterosexual people like to prey on our community because they believe there’s something innately “kinky” about us. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to get the other person’s name, Snapchat, phone number, or some form of communication outside of the dating app. That way you can confirm their identity and dump them if they turn out to not be the person who they say they are.
If you’re interested in dating apps, some options are Tinder, Grindr, Her, Chappy, and OKCupid. There are plenty of others out there, but those generally have the largest base of members. If you check out these apps, be aware of the demographics they are made for! For instance, Grindr is largely geared toward gay men. Also, each app has different features that might interest you. It may take some experiments with apps to find the right one that works for you, or you may just use more than one!
Remember that the most important consideration while figuring out the dating scene is YOU! You matter, and you deserve the best.
As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.
Until next time,
Love, Your Gay Godparent,