‘Online dating is beneficial for LGBTQ’

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 26 May 2019

It also allows freedom of expression to community to meet their partners & embrace their identity

Pune: Online dating applications have remained the most preferred platform for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community to meet their partners and embrace their gender identity openly. 

According to a survey conducted by Tinder, an online dating app, around 73 per cent of LGBTQ+ adults believe online dating/dating apps have benefited their community in a positive way. 44 per cent said it was easier for members of the community to be themselves and express more freely.

“Tinder has recently added several genders other than male and female. I have signed up as a transwoman. It is good to be honest with people and now people are appreciating us because of the increasing awareness,” said Sonali Dalvi, a transgender activist.

“Dating apps nowadays have the option to express one’s gender identity in several ways. One of the app I frequently use also has an option to include my preferred pronoun, so that I can explicitly mention it in my profile. In a broader perspective, I feel it does help express myself with my gender identity with no limits,” said Sriram, human resource professional, who uses online gay dating apps.

However, Sriram stated that the number 73 per cent looks a little exaggerated, as many of them face internal discrimination with respect to cross-dressing, feminine nature, etc.

Founder of Centre for Creative Transformation and Affective Creative Safe Spaces, Niki Ray aka The MadBai, said, “As 377 has only recently been deleted we still have a long battle to gaining complete social equality. We don’t have safe and dedicated dating spaces like LGBT clubs and social spaces yet in India where people can date openly. Hence, online dating and dating apps are definitely a good platform.”

Ray, who is also a counsellor by profession, stated that she often receives cases of depression and anxiety because of online relationships gone wrong. 

“When we set up an account on a dating app, we post our best photographs, use the wisest and best words to describe ourselves. Sometimes, we use images from the past and while chatting online, the context of many conversations are lost or misunderstood. I am not saying this in a negative connotation, but more with an aspect of awareness,” said Niki Ray.

Survey about community
 47 per cent said they feel happy about identifying as LGBTQ+, more than any other emotion
 70 per cent of Indians believe there is less stigma associated with the LGBTQIA+ community now, than it was five years back.
 61 per cent of Indians have identified as LGBTQIA+ on an online platform or closed group prior to formally coming out to friends/family
 85 per cent stated that online dating apps gave them the confidence to come out openly than formally accepting their gender identity offline. 
 Men (42 per cent) were more likely than women (28 per cent) to come out via social media. 
 70 per cent of community adults have stated that they want their dates to be involved in issues of community faces

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