Is There a Private Venue for Lesbian Dating?!
I was randomly thinking about lesbians (crazy, right?) and how their online dating life looked and worked—if it even existed. I went and followed up with my friend Google, who knows everyone’s business, and was soon left completely floored to see how unrepresented they were in the grand scheme of all things online dating. In an era where representation supposedly matters, we’re leaving an entire demographic of people behind in the trenches! Where are all my lesbians at? And where do you all date? No seriously, like, where the hell can you go?
Though the first letter in LGBT stands to represent lesbians, not much else in the world seems to. When you think of the word gay, you may find it to represent men and women who prefer sex with the same gender, yet dating apps and other services are seemingly catered towards the male aspect of the gay lifestyle. In regard to dating, it is a sketchy landscape for the lesbian who is looking for companionship in any form. Dating apps have become the norm for meeting people you’d like to build a relationship with, be it sexual or friendly, and are being embraced as technology expands our networks.
As a gay man, it is so easy for me to find a dating service that caters exclusively to me and the things that I want to find on the web. If I want to chat with a gay black top that’s discreet or an Asian twink within .5 miles from me I can do so on several different platforms (Adam4Adam, Growlr, Grindr, Jack’d, and several others.) I don’t have the burden of searching through straight people who are looking for the polar opposite, weeding through lesbians who aren’t into my offerings, and, let’s be honest; you get on dating apps to get right to the dating. If you want to search through all the bullshit there is out there, you would just simply date in real life.
The parallels of my online dating experiences versus that of my lesbian peers shocked me when I started investigating how vast the contrasts were. A search for lesbian dating apps brought many returns for apps that were geared towards straight people with a section for women seeking women. Only three sites for lesbian women exclusively returned in my first 10 search pages for lesbian dating; Her, Zoe and Hinge—with Hinge being another app with a straight demographic as target audience. Another site, datingadvice.com posted 12 Best LGBT Dating Apps of 2017 that lists six sites catered to straight people, 4 for gay men exclusively and ONLY TWO for lesbians. The journey of dealing with the aforementioned struggles with online dating haunt lesbian users across the board, leaving many frustrated with their representation in the grand scheme of LGBT related areas. It’s mind boggling that in a society engulfed in the quest for diversity, a marginalized group is constantly having margins drawn in for them.
Perceptions of Lesbianism
One of the difficult realizations surrounding lesbianism is the fact their lifestyle has been fetishized by men and can create a challenging complex for lesbians who are trying to date when the market is saturated with men preying for threesomes, or the chance to ‘turn lesbians out’ (whatever the fuck that means.) The sick inclination that a lesbian’s sexual preference is in some sort of limbo between straight and confused just awaiting the right dick to come along is offensive and ignorant. Toxic masculinity in this form has a great deal to do with the online environments lesbians are doomed to date in. Most apps are developed for communities by people who aren’t even members themselves. They don’t understand the needs, desires, likes, or issues experienced by their targeted demographic they hope will use their service/product.
The push for inclusion and diversity in sectors across the board are being embraced more and more everyday. It’s shocking that lesbians have made their way to our morning TV line up (Ellen DeGeneres), winning writing Emmy’s (Lena Waithe), and becoming governor (Kate Brown-OR), but can’t seem to find a decent app to connect them with potential partners of substance without sacrificing their first born and a major organ. The progressive agenda is incomplete when an underrepresented group is constantly being left behind. We cannot truly say that we are making advancements toward better representation for all when we are leaving such a vast number of women behind.
There are questions that remain unanswered. When will lesbians become a bigger part of the online dating scene? How long will it be acceptable to condemn lesbians to the dark corner of the room like an unwanted plus one? Are lesbians taken aback by this phenomenon en masse? What can be done to even a playing field so far off balance? There’s a need for a conversation in regard to how we treat lesbians and their access to dating without the fluff and frustration that currently comes as part of their subscriptions.
It’s time for us to all take a part in correcting this growing wrong. As apps appear and evolve and demographics that were once left out of marketing rooms are being taken serious, lesbians are seemingly still flies on the wall seeing no major social change (unless brought in on the all-inclusive back of the gay moniker.) As a gay black man I know all too well the marginal lines that create the societal boxes we’re left to maneuver, but it’s time to ensure that when one of our groups breaks free, all others can follow suit! So tell me, ladies, what can we do to catch you up to speed?