For Lesbians, TikTok Is ‘the Next Tinder’ | #tinder | #pof


On Feb. 3, Lauren Vlach received $8 on Venmo, spread across four $2 payments, from a girl she had never met. Each payment included a block of text; read together, they formed what Cas Stephens, who sent the payments, titled her “girlfriend application” to Ms. Vlach.

Name: Cas Stephens

Location: Minnesota

One of the pros of dating her: “Can do a backflip on a snowboard.”

One of the cons: “Have not seen any Disney movies.”

Though she pursued her on Venmo, Ms. Stephens, 20, found Ms. Vlach, 22, on TikTok, where her videos were racking up thousands of views. Ms. Stephens, on the other hand, didn’t have a profile picture yet. She figured it would be easier to get Ms. Vlach’s attention elsewhere, and seized on the Venmo handle listed in her bio.

Her application was accepted, and they went on their first date that night, to watch the sun rise at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. They have been documenting their relationship on TikTok ever since.

“I just didn’t even know that there was a regular side of TikTok,” she said.

If Lesbian TikTok were its own world, it could be broken down into many countries with their own national anthems — songs played over and over in users’ videos. There are the cottagecore girls (anthem: Mitski’s “Strawberry Blonde” or anything by Hozier), the couples (anthem: Girl in Red’s “We Fell in Love in October”) and the aesthetes (anthem: Vivaldi’s “Summer,” from “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”), among others.

“It reminds me a lot of if A.O.L. chat rooms could come to life,” said Shelli Nicole, a writer who has covered Lesbian TikTok for the queer women’s website Autostraddle.

Influencers like Ms. Blanchard would occupy the largest territory in Lesbian TikTok World. She joined the app last October on a dare; now she has 1.6 million followers.

Ms. Blanchard met another TikTok influencer, Soph Mosca, 21, at the popular creator convention Playlist Live in February. They hit it off and are now involved. Ms. Blanchard said she didn’t expect TikTok to become a matchmaking site when she first joined.

“I didn’t know it had the potential to, like, be the next Tinder,” she said.

“I never thought I would date someone from TikTok,” echoed Rachael Espie, 18, who met her girlfriend, Sarah Pye, 20, when she happened upon one of Ms. Pye’s videos in her feed. Their relationship is intercontinental: Ms. Espie lives in Glasgow, and Ms. Pye lives in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Lesbian TikTok has had a huge impact on Ms. Espie’s life beyond finding her a girlfriend. She said the app inspired her to come out as a lesbian in December 2019.

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