The LGBTQ+ dating scene has come alive in the last decade as society becomes more accepting and inclusive of same-sex relationships and fluid gender identities. Gay marriage is currently legal in 28 countries, and civil unions or registered partnerships are recognized in another 18 countries. The law is rapidly changing to reflect the rainbow of love overtaking the world.
Of course, you don’t have to be interested in marriage or anything so serious to have a fun time flirting on a gay dating site or app. Many popular LGBTQ dating platforms have given gay men, lesbian women, and queer people the chance to define love on their terms and meet potential partners who share similar outlooks and sexual orientations.
Straight-laced dating sites and dating apps don’t always always take gay men, lesbian safety bisexual preferences, or transgender issues into consideration, so we’ve created a gay man’s guide and queer-friendly lists to help LGBT singles make meaningful connections.
Look below to find articles about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer dating sites geared toward your needs.
Best Free Gay Dating Sites of 2020
Gay dating sites, especially the free ones, have been game changers for the LGBTQ+ community. They offer a private, convenient, and easily accessible space for exploring one’s sexuality and meeting a rainbow of date prospects. Today, experts estimate that 65% of gay couples meet one another online. With a little luck, you could be among them. We’ve ranked some of…
Best Gay Dating Apps of 2020
Looking for the best gay dating apps? We’ve got them right here waiting for you. This list includes the biggest names in the LGBTQ+ dating scene as well as a few surprise additions you may not have heard of yet. When it comes to the gay dating scene, we’ve seen a lot of big changes in the last few years.…
Best Gay Dating Sites of 2020
When picking out the best gay dating sites, singles should take a few things into consideration. First off, you should look at the site’s membership demographics and make sure its LGBTQ+ audience is robust enough to make the dating site worth your while. Next, you should research the payment system and know how much a subscription costs and what it…
Best Gay Hookup Sites of 2020
The best gay hookup sites can satisfy the libido of men of all ages. Such free-wheeling platforms support a vast network of sexually active singles, and they’re open 24/7 to anyone feeling flirty. From bi-curious college students to silver-haired daddies, you never know who you’ll meet on a popular hookup site or app, and all it takes is a swipe,…
Best Lesbian Dating Apps of 2020
When my friend broke up with her girlfriend, she was eager to move on, so she immediately joined the best lesbian dating apps and began searching for local women to wine and dine. Even though my friend had heard online dating can be difficult for lesbians, she was determined to beat the odds by doing her research and maintain active…
Online dating has had a tremendously positive impact on the LGBT dating community. Free dating sites allow gay singles to explore their sexuality from the privacy of their home, and these platforms have sparked countless love affairs and relationships between queer people who may never have run into each other otherwise.
Approximately 65% of same-sex couples in one study said they met online, and nearly 85% of Grindr users said they’ve fallen in love with someone on the dating app. That trend speaks to the power of online dating to connect men, women, and non-binary folks who may not feel comfortable approaching dates in gay bars or lesbian bars.
If you’re still feeling uncertain or skeptical about online dating as a gay man or an LGBTQ+ person, we hope to put your mind at ease by answering some common questions about gay dating, lesbian dating, trans dating, and other fluid dating experiences.
What are Some of the Common Terms Used in LGBTQ+ Dating?
Every dating group seems to form its own language to describe the comings and goings of certain types of singles, and the LGBTQ+ dating scene has a lexicon as spunky and colorful as its users.
First, let’s go over some gay dating terms. A bear is a man who is big, hairy-chested, and older but still very much attractive — at least to bear chasers. Otters and cubs are younger versions of bears. A daddy is an older man who dates younger guys in the gay community. Flamers, queens, fairies, and fruits all describe effeminate gay men — fairy and fruit are typically used as insults and not O.K. to use in polite society.
Now to cover some lesbian slang terms. You’ve probably heard of butch lesbians, who are tough, short-haired chicks, and femme lesbians, who appear more lady-like according to traditional gender norms, but those are hardly the only two types of lesbian women in the dating scene. Chapstick lesbians and soft butches are somewhere in between the two extremes.
Lesbians also have different terms to identify lesbian dating styles and sexual preferences. Power lesbians like to take control of every situation personally and professionally, while pillow queens prefer to be pampered by a partner and be on the receiving end of pleasure. A gold star lesbian is a woman who has only had sex with women.
Trans singles may see the term ladyboy in the marketing language of some dating sites. That term is used widely in many Asian countries, particularly Thailand, but it’s not seen as a politically correct term in Western societies and definitely not in the LGBT community.
Lesbians and gay men feel more comfortable chatting on LGBT dating apps and LGBT dating sites where there are no straight people to cramp their fun or misunderstand or marginalize their gender identities or sexual orientations.
How Has Online Dating Changed the LGBTQ Community?
Online dating has strengthened the LGBTQ community by giving individuals greater access to gay singles, lesbian singles, bisexual singles, and transgender singles. men and women no longer have to rely on their gaydar, social circles, or happenstance to meet gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people in the area — because they have apps like Grindr, SCRUFF, and Tinder to help them land dates.
LGBTQ+ daters can pursue a long term relationship based on mutual attraction and shared understanding of the world. They can form friendships and relationships more easily, and they can also meet mentors or leaders in the LGBTQ community. Gay dating sites and lesbian dating apps can offer solidarity and support to queer singles feeling alone in their daily lives. That makes a tremendous difference.
It doesn’t matter if you’re out and proud or still questioning your sexuality or gender identity — online dating sites and gay dating apps provide a safe space to talk to queer people who are in the same boat.
What are Some Gay Dating Problems for LGBTQ+ Singles?
Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ singles do sometimes run into dating challenges and obstacles, even on dating sites and apps that are designed to help them. Our dating experts have seen reviews from gay singles who say they’ve encountered a lot of fake profiles, and we’ve heard lesbian and bisexual women complain about being solicited for sex and threesomes by single men, bi curious women, and straight people who fancy themselves unicorn hunters.
Online dating apps don’t bring out the best in everyone. The anonymous nature of hookup apps can foster some harmful behavior ranging from online stalking to homophobic rants. Sometimes bullies will inexplicably join popular gay dating apps like Grindr or SCRUFF with the sole purpose of trying to convert, insult, or harass queer people. Grindr and other online dating companies do not condone such behavior and will remove profiles that threaten the safety or happiness of members.
Upstanding transgender dating sites can offer a safe haven from harassment and give straight, gay and bisexual individuals the power to decide who can and cannot slide into their DMs. All you have to do is report or block the profile of someone behaving inappropriately, and they are forever removed from your online dating experience.
Dating sites and apps have worked hard to ally with LGBTQ+ singles and give them the tools they need to move forward, leave the haters behind, and make valuable and authentic connections. If all goes according to plan, the love should shout down the hate.
What’s the Best LGBTQ Dating Advice?
If you’re entering the gay and lesbian dating scene for the first time as an LGBTQ+ person, you may feel overwhelmed by how different it is from the mainstream dating world. Gay singles tend to move more quickly and talk more explicitly about sex and hookups, while lesbian singles tend to blur the line between friendship and love, and they’ll frequently stay in touch with exes because they’re all part of the same kickass ladies group.
The best advice I can give to queer singles on a dating website is to be honest about your experiences and intentions. Sometimes it can be tempting to fib a little — especially if you’re introducing yourself online — but that puts the relationship on rocky footing and could cause problems down the road.
It’s important to discuss your dating history with potential matches, and you may want to share your coming out story as well to give the full picture. Everyone has a different experience and perspective as LGBTQ+ daters, and you can learn from people by owning who you are and giving them the space, freedom, and acceptance to do the same.
What are Some Examples of Healthy LGBTQ+ Relationships?
Whether you’re pansexual, transexual, asexual, or homoflexible, a healthy personal relationship is one where you feel heard, accepted, and loved by your partner. Some singles don’t have good role models for loving relationships at home, so they look to the celebrity world for inspiration about what a good LGBTQ+ relationship looks like.
Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka are raising incredibly adorable twins and living in domestic bliss, while somehow also managing to have stellar careers. Their Halloween outfits are on point, and their parenting skills never fail. Neil and David are definitely #goals for gay men seeking commitment and family.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia di Rossi are among the cutest lesbian couples of all time. They’ve been married since 2008, and Ellen said she enjoys telling stories about their home life — how they’ll sit next to each other on the couch trading memes or how they like to take walks and stop to take photos with tour buses.
A lot of famous gay couples have been together for years and are still going strong. Singer-songwriter Sir Elton John has been with his husband for over 25 years, and actress Lily Tomlin has been with her partner Jane Wagner since 1971.
How Do I Meet Local LGBTQ+ Singles?
You can meet singles of all ages and sexual orientations on a gay hookup site for locals. Platforms like Adult Friend Finder and Grindr were made to put sexy guys and gals in a virtual room together and see if anything sticks. You can send photo likes and digital flirts to get something going, and a free hookup site or hookup app will offer free messaging as well.
The gay dating app Grindr has over 27 million hot guys, and it’s the top gay hookup app in the gay community.
Online dating is the most direct way to meet local gay singles, but you can also try your luck at lesbian, gay and bisexual community events and social groups. If you search the Meetup website, you should be able to find book clubs, sports practices, hiking groups, brunch outings, and other gatherings where it’s easy to make friends and find common interests.
Which LGBTQ Dating Sites and Dating Apps Actually Work?
Many gay and lesbian dating sites really work and can change the dating routines of everyone from 20-somethings who just came out of the closet all the way to 70-somethings who are recently widowed or divorced.
A lesbian dating app, like HER and Bumble, can help lesbian, bisexual, and queer women come into their own and reinvigorate their love lives. We’d also like to give a shoutout to Grindr, which is one of the longest-running and most successful gay dating apps in the world. These apps are free to download, and they definitely can yield fast results for singles looking for potential matches and gay hookups.
Which LGBTQ Dating Sites and Dating Apps are Free?
A lot of the best gay dating sites provide free registration, profile browsing, smart matching, and local searches, and some also include unlimited chatting in the bargain. A free Tinder membership includes full access to your inbox where you can trade pickup lines with queer women and men. And there are dating apps like Tinder for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
A Grindr user can also message all Grindr profiles, and they can use Grindr Xtra to receive unlimited likes. There are no straight women on this app, and everyone links to their Facebook or social media account, so you can trust your casual encounters.
Plenty of Fish and OkCupid also offer completely free messaging to all users — but you don’t have to form a mutual match to say hi and get the ball rolling.
Gay apps like Grindr are fantastic allies to gay and bisexual guys, and they can upgrade any gay dating experience by empowering you to talk and flirt as much as you please for free.
Should I Join a General Dating Site or LGBTQ+ Platform?
If you’re on the fence, it’d probably be best to start off with an app for gay singles where you’ll be surrounded by people like you. LGBTQ+ social media platforms solidify bonds in the rainbow community, and that’s a powerful thing.
Someone who identifies as fluid, trans, or queer may be frustrated when most mainstream platforms simply don’t have enough orientation and gender options to cover the diversity of LGBTQ+ identities.
That’s not true for all general dating sites, though. In 2014, OkCupid announced it would add 22 gender options and 12 orientation options to its profiles. In 2019, Tinder added nine orientation options that users could choose to either hide or display on their profiles.
Still, gay dating sites for queer folks tend to be more inclusive and have more flexibility when it comes to sexual orientations and gender identities.
The top lesbian dating sites provide a great user experience and look out for the interests of lesbian, bi curious, and queer women seeking meaningful connections with LGBTQ women.
Gay women can download HER, a lesbian dating app that verifies users through Facebook or Instagram, to find a long term relationship with a woman or partner. No creeps or fake profiles in sight. Some in the LGBT dating scene have hailed HER as Grindr for lesbians because it is totally women-friendly and lgbtq friendly.
How Do I Stay Safe on an LGBT Dating Site or App?
Safety is an important concern for LGBTQ+ singles, who are among the most vulnerable minorities when it comes to discrimination and harassment. Gay dating apps and lesbian dating websites can do a lot to protect users from online harassment and romance scams, but you also have to take responsibility for yourself and do what you can to avoid unsavory characters and cyberbullies.
You can report gay dating profiles that appear fake or use inappropriate or explicit language, and you can block anyone who harasses, threatens, insults, or annoys you. As soon as you block the person, he, she or ze will be removed from your matches and inbox forever, and the platform’s moderators may follow-up to see if further action (as in, deleting the profile) is warranted.
Transgender singles can sometimes be reported for misrepresenting themselves, or their accounts can be flagged as fake profiles because their photos don’t read as male or female. Transgender dating is difficult in the mainstream world, and that’s why many trans singles choose to remove themselves from that toxic atmosphere and seek LGBTQ+ sites and apps where they can be themselves.
Staying safe in the online dating scene is just a matter of being cautious, trusting your instincts, and keeping dates at a distance until they’ve proven trustworthy and genuine.