Nowadays, people connect online as much as in person. The internet brings us together for a whole host of interactions, ranging from business to casual and anything in between. In this increasingly digital world, dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid have become major platforms for fostering interpersonal connection between people around the world. But how do those platforms help LGBTQ+ people specifically connect with each other?
Statistically speaking, LGBTQ+ people spend more time on the internet than their peers outside LGBTQ+ communities. Eighty percent of LGBT respondents to research conducted by LGBT Tech said they participate in a social networking site, such as Facebook or Twitter, compared to just 58 percent of the general public. With a disproportionate number of LGBTQ+ people connecting online, the platforms we use to connect should make space for LGBTQ+ users. Oftentimes, as the team discusses in the podcast, these platforms fall short in meeting the needs of our various communities.
LGBT Tech's latest After Hours episode addresses some of the challenges LGBTQ+ individuals face when trying to navigate the world of dating apps. Too often the more mainstream apps don't adequately fulfill the needs of their LGBTQ+ users. Limited options for gender and sexual orientation as well as poorly-fielded search make navigating dating apps difficult for LGBTQ+ users. Many of the apps that do pay attention to LGBTQ+ issues don't always do the same for their users' data privacy.
As human beings, connection matters, regardless of where it happens. Members of marginalized groups the LGBTQ+ community should be able to connect with each other in safe, affirming environments - online and in the real world. Platforms for interpersonal connection like dating apps should affirm the diversity of their users while protecting their data. We still have a long way to go, but considering the growing number of LGBTQ+ affirming apps and spaces, we're getting somewhere.
Listen to episode 3 of After Hours here!
Want to catch up on episodes 1 and 2? Check out our Soundcloud for After Hours, Deeper Dive and more!