Tech Your Queer: Gaying Up Tinder And Other Things About Online Dating


Well queermos, it is time. It is time to talk about dating applications. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve talked a ton about various applications—She-Seek, for example. Or Tinder! Or Dattch! Or how about the entire series on OK Cupid? But technology is fast and different dating applications are springing up like crazy. Some are just for the queers, some aren’t. But those of us who are single are duty bound to at least try them all. But whhyyyy, you ask from your perch on your couch with your tofutti in hand and Netflix on your screen. I’m glad you asked—

Reasons Us Queermos Should Use Online Dating Apps

1. Sheer numbers. The reason dating apps work so well in cities is because of the sheer number of people using them. The reason Tinder shows us straight people (sometimes—and we’ll talk a bit about this later) might be because there aren’t enough queer ones nearby. Let’s change that! We deserve just as much as anyone else out there to take up space in these applications, even when they aren’t made specifically for our community. The more queermos we’ve got using the app, the more useful the app will be to us queermos. The more of our community that shows up, the more power we have to change the ways the apps are perceived and used—that means we can use these platforms to connect with our communities when it might be difficult to find our community entirely in meat-space.

2. To support apps that have us in mind. Using apps that are made for the lesbian/queer communities is just as important as using the ones that are made for everyone. When we use something made for us, we ensure its continued existence. We also signal to other people who might create something that the territory is active and that the effort and investment wouldn’t be wasted. Supporting apps like Dattch and Wing Ma’am is a great example of supporting apps that support us. And because we’ve done (and will continue to do) that, the ultra-queer Thurst is making its bid for funding because they know the market exists.

 3. Sometimes they “work!” I put the term “work” in quotes because whether or not a dating app works for you is super subjective and is linked not at all to whether or not you have sex or a relationship or anything. These apps mean different things to different people. But in case you’re using the term “work” in a more traditional sense, I met my fiancée on OK Cupid.

4. And even when they don’t, you’re still out there meeting new people. Again, success looks different for different people. But even if you have an experience you deem a “fail,” there’s almost always something in it for you regardless. For a more in-depth discussion of this, here’s a piece from our Oh Gay Cupid series.

5. Because our spaces are disappearing. So perhaps the prevalence of online dating is contributing to the dearth of girl bars or lezzie parties, who can actually say? Perhaps it’s something entirely different. Regardless, our physical spaces are disappearing and creating new physical spaces for our community is sometimes cost or location prohibitive. Creating a queer online space using a free dating app, however, is…well…free (for the users of the app, at least). Making OKC, Tinder or Dattch into our online fantasy queer bar is our Lesbian Jesus-granted right. And while the state of the gay bar may be dismal, that doesn’t mean our dating or networking opportunities have to go the same way.

6. To submit to Swipe Right: Queers Appreciate Tinder. While this zine isn’t affiliated with Autostraddle, you might find some familiar faces editing—Anna Bongiovanni and Vanessa Friedman. And they’re looking for your contributions, funny or serious, visual or text-based, Tinder-positive or Tinder-negative (or related to all sorts of other online dating apps) to fill the pages of their latest project. Check out the Facebook page or Anna’s website for more details and submission ideas! The deadline is March 15, so y’all have got PLENTY of time to amass some wonderful (and terrible) Tinder experiences.

So now that I’ve convinced you to jump feet first into online dating (supposing of course that you haven’t already), how do we make apps like Tinder work for us. I sat down with Anna Bongiovanni, co-editor of Swipe Right, cartoonist behind Grease Bats here on Autostraddle and self-identifying Tinder-lover to talk tips and tricks. In their own words, here’s a few of their best practices to try:

  • If someone even seems remotely interesting, probably you should wipe right and give it a go.
  • Attempt to move the conversation offline and in person sooner than later. Or at LEAST exchange numbers and move it to text.
  • Don’t assume someone is straight, because you wouldn’t want someone assuming that about you. No policing!
  • Probably you should use that little space to write a sentence. I respond best to things that are interesting/funny. Notsomuch inspirational quotes or gibberish.
  • If you are traveling, Tinder IS THE BEST. I’ve gotten lots of last minute dates this way! Also, even if I can’t go out with the people I match up with, I can ask them where the queer hotspot is for the night!
  • People get burnt out on Tinder saying there’s no one new. Which is true! Our dating pool is small! We go out a lot and exhaust the dating scene! We are friends with all the queers in our neighborhood! My best advice would be to keep checking back. (Editors note: especially after reading this post—someone new may be trying Tinder RIGHT NOW). Who knows. Maybe it’ll keep being empty, but sometimes new people show up! I don’t understand the algorithim that makes this happen.

Still not sure which apps to dance with? Well, gentlequeers, I give you



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