An examination of dating apps and how they cater to the black LGBTQIA community.
Listen, if you know me–and you probably don’t since this is a new platform–you would know that I am a huge advocate for online dating and utilizing dating apps to find a boo. Let’s be real, the gay world is extremely small, so when you date one person in your city you practically date them all. With that being said, I don’t see anything wrong with using other avenues or digital platforms to widen your dating pool. I’ve not only found really great lovers through social media and dating apps, but I have also found really great friends. Unfortunately, most popular dating apps do not cater to the average black LGBTQIA member. While our male and transmen counterparts have the app Jack’d, that provides them a platform to both find love and a quick hookup, black femme/dominant presenting queers are left with few or no options at all.
Not one to give my opinion without conducting the proper research first (well, for the most part), I’ve made, and already had, dating profiles on some of the most popular dating apps: Twitter, Tinder, HER, Bumble and Hinge. And in this blog post, I will rate on a scale from 1-5 how gay friendly these apps are, and how successfully a black femme or dominant presenting queer can find love on them.
Yes, this is a dating app, and I will tell you why. Within the digital Twitter community lives various sub-groups, including Black Lesbian Twitter. Probably one of the biggest sub-groups within the Twittersphere, black lesbians, bisexuals, non-binaries, trans and everything in between have come together to build this exclusive online community. We have our own culture, our own slang and even daily topics we discuss everyday. And when you spend so much time online talking to and going through life with the same people, it’s only natural that you start dating them. Well, the ones you find mutually attractive. So, not only does Twitter provide us a larger community to connect and thrive within, but it also provides the opportunity to meet the love of your life that without, you might have never encountered.
But be careful, because people can study your timeline and present themselves the way you desire and not the way they really are. Outside of that, Twitter is the perfect social media dating app and I score it a 5 out of 5 stars!
Gay-enough-meter Score (for black people): 5
You know, I am so sick Tinder, she is really not that girl. And I am sure I am not the only one who is constantly deleting this app and then re-downloading it in shame. But I will say this, if you are more attracted to and/or looking for a femme presenting black queers–this is the app for you. There is nothing but beautiful black queer femmes to choose from on here. But first, you have to comb through the pages and pages of non-black profiles which is both exhausting and seems highly unnecessary in 2019. I have no idea why this app doesn’t allow you to state your racial preferences yet? It’s so overdue.
Now if you are like me, and are seeking more dominant presenting queers, this app is barely for you. Are they there? Kind of. Do they speak? It’s like pulling teeth. I have a love/hate relationship with this app because it doesn’t cater to my preferences but I know it works for some. I’m not recommending that you use it but I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t.
Gay-enough-meter Score (for black people): 3.75
So look, HER is suppose to be an app for lesbians, however, there is some clarification around this description that needs to happen. Because as a black queer, I do not feel like I have a real chance at finding love with someone who shares the same skintone as me when using this app. I think that is a huge problem across all dating apps and the only solution is to build our own.
But, there are some things that I do like about the app. Similar to Tinder, both people have to show interest in each other for the conversation to occur but on HER you can see who “likes” your pictures and who “friend requests” you. Which helps you decipher your swiping direction a little bit better. There are also community boards built into this app, which shows you queer events going on in your actual city giving you face to face opportunities to link up with people you match with . Which is nice. If this app was actually built for other people other than white queers, I’m sure we would all enjoy it more but it is not.
Gay-enough-meter Score (for black people): 3
I don’t know if it’s because I do design or I am just judgemental, but this interface is so bright and so overwhelming that I almost didn’t even create a profile. And the whole “bumble bee” theme in general seems elementary to me as an adult–but that’s not even what we are talking about here.
Even though this app was created by a womxn (who apparently left Tinder for discrimination, girl the tea), I am still not surprised it lacks a space for black queers, and even blacks in general to successfully use the app. I have not swiped right one time since downloading because I have not seen one black person to even match with.
Gay-enough-meter Score (for black people): 1
Hinge is a little bit cuter than Bumble since they display the answers to the prompted questions that they asked you when you first created your profile. Which again, helps you decipher your swiping direction a little bit better. But the lack of black faces prompted me to close the app as quickly as I opened it.
Gay-enough-meter Score (for black people): Who even knows.
Girls, we are at the end of our review and we are seeing the same recurring themes: these apps are not black enough, they are not gay enough, yet, it’s all we got. I recommend that we either create our own dating apps or we all just go outside more because these apps are just not for us. And if all else fails, shoot that shot you been wanting too in those DMs and send us the link to your #WeMetOnTwitter thread when you post it!
Written by: Kee Simone (@thebaddiegalore)