I’m here and I’m queer.”
That was my rallying cry last July when I finally came out to my family and friends.
Pop culture led me to believe I would immediately feel liberated and find the love of my life moments after.
I blame “Glee.”
Hollywood created this unreal expectation in my mind in which finding love is as easy as coming out. The truth is far from that reality.
After having an existential crisis, I did what any recently out 21-year-old queer woman would do. I downloaded Tinder and joined my local LGBTQ club.
Here are the four struggles I found about dating as a queer woman.
1) Nobody Ever Makes the First Move
Maybe it’s a byproduct of a heteronormative society where men always make the first move, but
since I started swiping on Tinder I have had about 10 conversations with women on the app. It seems nobody ever wants to make the first move.
HER, an app catering to queer women, sends questions to jumpstart the conversation. It’s like the creators knew that queer women will swipe endlessly while refusing to initiate the dialogue.
I am not exempt from this phenomenon. Years of being approached by men in person and in social media have conditioned me into expecting others to make the first advance.
Women are constantly told not to make the first move, to play hard to get. So when both parties are brought up with the same ideology it’s no wonder nobody makes the first move.
2) Determining Who is Gay is a Puzzle
I’ve jump started my investigative journalism career through the process of deciphering who is queer. Social cues such as mentions of queer musicians Hayley Kiyoko or Halsey are red flags, but besides that, it’s all just a guessing game.
You’re stuck in a perpetual state of ambiguity because the feminist in you knows you shouldn’t stereotype based on music taste, hairstyle, or personal interests.
3) Dating Apps are a Breeding Ground for Threesome Offers
Out of the 30 people you might swipe through on Tinder, the majority are women looking for friendship, and another large part are couples looking for a third.
Coming out is really the first step in a long road of love and acceptance.
The biggest obstacles I have found in dating have been my own insecurities. I have run away from women who have made even the slightest advances towards me.
There is a lingering fear that exists, even when you come out. It takes a lot of mental strength to condition yourself into believing that what you’re feeling is normal.
You grieve for the life your family always envisioned for you. The white picket fence, with the husband, and two and a half children. You grieve for a life in which people won’t stare at you or your significant other. Where you are not punished by who you fall in love with.
The biggest obstacle in dating is allowing yourself to love. Allowing yourself to be authentic, to be seen.
Ultimately, I’ve learned to be patient, with others and myself.
Love works in the same manner for those who are straight or LGBTQ. It will come knocking when we least expect