As a woman who has sifted through the depths of Tinder and Bumble, it really doesn’t take long to notice that the majority of mainstream dating apps remain directed towards straight folks; typically offering restrictive experiences for LGBTQ+ people. The examples listed below offer a refreshing experience for those wanting a break from heteronormative algorithms.
In recognition of Bumble’s restricted inclusivity for LGBTQ+ folk, the company decided to invest in Chappy, a service based similarly to Bumble and Tinder’s swiping formats. Chappy offers queer men an experience targeted towards meaningful connections, but is still open to all through the users’ choice of seeking: ‘Mr Right’, ‘Mr Right Now’ or ‘Mr Who Knows’.
Not everyone is in search of ‘the one’ however, and whether your prerogative is a casual hook-up or anything more, Grindr has you covered. Being likely the most recognised LGBTQ+ app, Grindr dominates the market in gay hook-up culture. While a majority of its users identify as male, the statistics of trans women using the app have increased significantly over the past few years.
Alternative apps such as Jack’d and Scruff are equally promising if casual hook-ups are what you’re seeking. That being said, these apps aren’t limited as such; there’s something to be found for everyone from one-night-stands to long-term relationships. While there are arguably issues with such apps promoting stereotypes of queer masculinity, if you know what you’re looking for, dating sites like Grindr are certain to do the job.
HER is a brilliant, award-winning app made by and targeted at queer women, as well as non-binary people. As an app I know all too well, HER gives the option to its users of sending ‘friend requests’ and thus users are able to reach out to like-minded people in both romantic and platonic forms. HER allows its users a vast range of self-expression through its extensive gender and sexuality options, as well as personal interests.
Using a similar format to Facebook, users can also join various groups, upload statuses to be seen by other users, as well as keep up to date regarding current events in the LGBTQ+ community. HER has a relatively unique feature of ‘icebreakers’ for matches who have not begun to message each other over a period of 24 hours – with a variety of ‘would you rather’ orientated questions, the app strips a little of the anxiety and awkwardness away from the initial, ‘Hey, how are you’s?’
Fem is a lesbian dating app relatively similar to HER as regards its algorithm but gives its users the added freedom of creating video profiles and chat rooms if they so wish. The use of such a feature further enables users to feel more at ease with the reliability of their matches.
Scissr has often been labelled the lesbian equivalent of Grindr, but as an app again similar to HER, ‘designed by queer womxn for queer womxn’ to help them create connections with other queer individuals, SCISSR also establishes a more grounded hook-up-based format for those seeking something fun and casual.
Working with a percentage-based algorithm, OkCupid provides a series of questions for its users and matches are assigned a compatibility percentage based on each other’s answers. The app’s recent pursuit to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive means it now offers the largest range of customisable profile options including 13 sexual orientations and over 20 different gender expressions, so you’re really free to be yourself.
A simple ‘sliding into the DMs’ makes social media apps such as Twitter and Instagram really interesting resources for meeting new people – their constructions of profiles are significantly more unrestricted than other formulaic dating apps, thus enabling people to gauge a detailed portrait of your personality. Apps such as these are the underdogs of dating, so don’t be shy about striking up a conversation!
Whichever you choose, make sure you’re always staying safe and happy dating!!
– Mia Roe