Which Dating App Is The Most Queer-Friendly? I’ve been on Tinder for over a year and I’ve queer dating website ever gotten four matches,” I once proclaimed to a table full of people. And only one of those has ever responded to a message.
Upon hearing this information, a gay male friend cheerfully snatched my phone out of my hands and opened the app. And then he actually proceeded to double check whether or not I had been doing Tinder correctly. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a dating app with the difficulty of Candyland mansplained to you at a bar, but I can assure you, it’s not cute. Tinder is just an atrocious app for queer women. It occurred to me that most people don’t take the numbers game into account when it comes to dating queerly.
The CDC estimates that around 4 percent of the population is LGB- or “something else”-identified. Because of that, LGBTQIA folks have known for approximately two decades what Tinder is just beginning to monetize: the Internet is a spectacular tool for meeting people with whom you’d otherwise never cross paths. But for dating apps to be fun to use, they need a wide userbase. And to have a wide userbase, they need straight people. Even gay-geared apps, in the hopes of finding success like heavy hitters Match and OKCupid, design their gender and sexuality options to mimic their straight counterparts. What’s the point of catering to niche markets if you’re not even going to bother researching their actual needs?
Check out Bustle’s ‘Save The Date’ and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. But, in all honesty: people wanna grind. Basically, it’s soulless and without charm. Unsurprisingly, the extent of its self-identifying options are “man” or “woman” seeking “men,” “women,” or “both. In other words, if you identify as queer, don’t waste your data plan surfing Match. OKCupid has a little more grit, and caters much more effortlessly to a younger audience.
Also bestowed with the 5 million downloads badge on Google Play, its userbase is just as prolific as its predecessor Match, but with a refreshing We’re Chill About All This Dating Nonsense And You Should Be Too bent. For a mainstream, mostly hetero dating app, OKCupid made one important protection when it was first acquired by Match back in 2011: the “I don’t want to see or be seen by straight people” option. But don’t get too trigger-happy deleting that tedious paragraph where you’re forced to queersplain what a special snowflake you are. The options for “I’m looking for” are still limited to “women,” “men,” and “everybody. If OKCupid is going to go through the trouble of helping users self-identify in more authentic ways, then why not finish the job and help them actually attract and match with the sorts of partners in whom they’re interested? Look, not everyone is searching for “personality” in a match.
Enter Tinder: the sleek dopamine rush your brain has been craving. As pretty much every queer woman knows: Tinder is god-awful. DOWN, formerly Bang With Friends, boasts 500,000 downloads and connects with your Facebook to let you swipe on your Facebook friends, and also their friends. Your “looking for” options are — you guessed it — men and women. It automatically assumed I was looking for men, and when I changed it to women, it just displayed all my straight friends. Hinge is another one of the Facebook-linked apps designed to match you with friends of friends and friends of friends of friends.
F and it’s “interested in” options are men, women, or both. Its actual gaydar appears to have a slight edge on DOWN and Tinder, but not by much. I guess all gay fish just have to be switches? Coffee Meets Bagel is super charming, because, when you set up your account, you can identify as either a mustache or a pair of kissy lips, seeking either other mustaches, or other kissy lips. You cannot desire both mustaches and kissy lips, or, suffice to say, a mustache with kissy lips.
We all had high hopes for Dattch when it rolled out nationwide. It definitely has its place in the world and will appeal to certain queer-identified folks, but Dattch doesn’t allow users to select a gender identity, which means that its developers either assume all users identify as women or they don’t think it matters, as long as you’re looking for women. Neither of those scenarios seem particularly inclusive for an explicitly non-hetero app. Literally, the only hope for the future is Wing Ma’am, which has a horrifically gendered name but is actually the most impressively inclusive option available to queer folks. It’s set up to display not only people, but also events in your area, increasing your chances of meeting someone with whom you vibe. And finally, most importantly: the filters. There’s only one master drop-down list from which users can select multiple options, and it includes markers across the gender, sexuality, and relationship preference spectrum: queer, questioning, genderqueer, trans, intersex, and polyamorous to name a few.
It’s also the only app of all 10 reviewed here that offers “asexual” as a self-identifier, which huge and important gesture of visibility for a vastly underrepresented community. And unlike OKCupid, Wing Ma’am users can filter their matches by the exact same list of identifiers. In other words, this is where I screen for my broken dresser drawer-fixing heartthrob. Other unique features include the option of seeking “double dates,” which, sure, might just mean finding new friends to do couple stuff with, or, as I prefer to believe, is a perfectly subtle invitation for group play. The only gendered hiccup on Wing Ma’am’s profile questionnaire is a fill-in-the-blank stating “I love my girlfriend because” which I really wish said “partner” instead of “girlfriend,” because it’s a well-conceived question and totally sweet. The other problem with Wing Ma’am is that it’s newly launched, and thus, teeny teeny tiny — only 10,000 downloads to speak of on Google Play.