Dating is hard. That’s just a fact. Dating while queer is often even harder. When you’re a guy who’s attracted to people of the same gender, there are simply fewer instances in which you can serendipitously meet somebody and experience that romantic spark. Which is why gay bars and other inclusive spaces have become such an important part of life for people in the LGBTQ+ community, including gay and bisexual men.
Of course, if you’re a queer man looking for love, not every town has a gay bar that you can just head to whenever you’re in the mood to get your flirt on. And in the pandemic, meeting and mixing with a lot of people in a public setting is out of the question.
Enter: The Apps. Whether you’re looking for somebody fun to chat with, to swap photos, or make a connection with the goal of eventually meeting for a real-life date, we’ve got you covered. These are the 8 best LGBTQ-friendly dating and hookup apps for queer men. (When you find one you like and sign up for an account, make sure you follow these tips for taking a really great photo for your profile!)
Bonus: when you are ready for an-person meet-up with a person you met on one of these dating apps, check out our ideas for awesome first dates and second dates. You’ll look like a total romantic genius without breaking the bank.
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OK, let’s get this one out of the way first. Grindr is so well-known as a gay dating and hookup app that even straight people have heard of it. We all know how it works; the home screen shows you a grid of guys near your location, you can chat, share photos, and send voice memos, and meet the love of your life—or the love of your afternoon, at least.
Download Grindr on iOS or Android.
Scruff is very similar to Grindr in its grid functionality, but unlike Grindr, which has been criticized for perpetuating a “no fats, no femmes” attitude among its users, Scruff was originally geared towards gay men of differing body types. Specifically: bears, otters, wolves, daddies, and other “tribes” that find body hair and a more stocky built attractive.
Download Scruff on iOS or Android.
Jack’d promises new users that they’ll be able to connect with “the most diverse community of gay, bi, trans, queer, and curious guys around the globe,” and is popular among men of color. You can search by what a guy is into, his relationship status (for those looking to play), and the Discover tab lets you find profiles based on recent activity.
Download Jack’d on iOS or Android.
Unlike many gay dating apps which show you a grid of the guys nearest to you, Surge is more like Tinder, allowing users to swipe through profiles until they land on one they like. The “swipe right” / “swipe left” / “it’s a match” functionality are exactly the same, so if nothing else, you won’t have to waste any time figuring out how the app works once you’ve downloaded it.
Download Surge on iOS or Android.
Adam4Adam started out as a popular desktop-based dating website for gay men. Remember those?
Anyway, now that nobody has time to sit down and log on to find a date, A4A is in the app game, serving up pretty much the same kind of user experience as other services like Grindr.
Download Adam4Adam on iOS or Android.
Into bears? Growlr really is where the wild things are. While even Scruff caters at least partially to guys with lean physiques, Growlr is specifically for bears, cubs, and dadbods.
Download Growlr on iOS and Android.
In many countries where LGBTQ+ individuals are still persecuted, like Chechnya, the most widely used and well-known gay dating apps like Grindr have been banned. Hornet, which looks and works a lot more like a social networking platform than a dating app, provides a safer alternative for queer men in some locations (although it too has been prohibited in places like the United Arab Emirates).
Download Hornet on iOS or Android.
Dating for transgender and nonbinary people can be a nightmare, even on queer apps which purport to be inclusive. Tser is a dating and hookup app specifically created for trans, enby and gender-fluid singles — including, for the purposes of this list, trans men who identify as gay or bisexual. Because everyone deserves a safe space to flirt.
Download Tser on iOS or Android.
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