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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Opinion

Dating is hard for the LGBTQ community


dating app

Iqra Rafey/The Cougar

LGBTQ people face greater challenges when it comes to the dating scene due to a long history of oppression from the outside world and emotional turmoil from within stemming from homophobia. 

Although various apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge exist to assist LGBTQ people in meeting other members of the community in a more convenient way, many still struggle to find dates compared to their heterosexual peers. 

One of the most obvious obstacles in LGBTQ dating is the lack of overall options. 

In a society where being LGBTQ has almost never been seen as acceptable, many people feel the need to suppress their sexual identity, therefore, never coming out of the closet. This lessens an already limited dating pool, as only about 7.1 percent of Americans outwardly label themselves as part of the community. 

While this number is much more significant than it used to be, people who live in more conservative parts of the country are typically hit harder by this dilemma. 

Although apps may make this easier, many fear going on these apps due to their lack of anonymity. Anyone could impersonate an LGBTQ person and potentially out their peers, leading to paranoia about joining the apps.

In addition, outward ways of expression may also be an indicator of how many matches one may get on an app.

For example, gay men tend to prefer more masculine partners on average than those who portray themselves as more feminine. 

In fact, it also leads to high displeasure with their own overall self-esteem. So not only does this hindrance of freedom of expression set greater limitations on the dating pool, it can cause psychological distress in the long term while simply trying to find a partner.

To add on, some people do not fully come to terms with their sexual identity until later in life, and many may not get to experience dating during their teenage years because of it. 

Also, because of the aforementioned suppression of sexuality due to pressure from society, the lack of open LGBTQ people makes it difficult to have a relationship with someone, especially one that is known to the public. 

Because of this, LGBTQ people may turn to alternative fulfillment, such as toxic hookup culture through apps such as Grindr. Not only does this pose a potential risk to one’s physical health, but it can also be emotionally taxing.

Hookup culture has filled the void of physical connection that many LGBTQ people feel as though they’ve missed out on and still continue to lack in their day-to-day lives. 

While an LGBTQ dating app that is specifically just for courtship has yet to become mainstream, currently existing apps such as Hinge are becoming more inclusive by providing a frequently answered questions tab with common LGBTQ dating questions that allow people to become educated on various topics related to dating and gender identity. 

These small but notable strides are what opens the door for LGBTQ people to find that special someone in a world that has historically restricted them from doing so freely.

Michael King is a political science sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]

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