A Queer Woman’s Guide to Dating Apps

Dating in college is hard, which is ironic because college is supposedly the place where you find your forever love. When I was a week into college and I wasn’t madly in love, I decided it was time to get a Tinder account. Statistically, dating apps should give you a better chance of finding “the one” because you are being exposed to people you may not normally meet in your everyday life. I thought dating apps would make my dating life easier. When I was solely dating men, apps did help me meet more people, but when I started dating women, dating apps were a minefield and sometimes they still are.

There are no set social scripts for queer relationships like there are for heterosexual relationships. This is a good thing because we can create our own scripts, but it also makes dating on apps more difficult. I wish I had a Queer Woman’s Guide to Dating Apps when I was first navigating queer Tinder, so I decided to make one to share with you. 

First, let’s go over the pros and cons of some of the more common dating apps.

Tinder is predominately a hookup app and is probably the most popular dating app for college students.

Pros: There are a plethora of people that regularly use Tinder, especially college students.

Cons: You will probably match with someone from one of your classes.

Bumble is an app for people looking for relationships. The premise of Bumble is to shift the typical power dynamic in a relationship with the rule that women must message men first, but this rule doesn’t apply for women messaging other women.

Pros: You can show your interests, values and intentions in a questionnaire provided by Bumble.

Cons: Your match disappears within 24 hours if someone doesn’t message.

HER was created specifically for queer women to meet each other and doubles as a dating app and social media site.

Pros: Men can’t create accounts, so it is a closed space to queer women and non-binary folks.

Cons: Not very many people are signed up for HER. Also, you don’t have to match with someone to message them or for them to message you. 

Next, here are the two more common tropes of queer dating on apps to be aware of while swiping. The first is girls looking for a third with their boyfriend or their "unicorn." This is probably the most common trope on queer Tinder. The second trope is straight girls just looking for friends.

These tropes at face value aren't necessarily harmful, but they can get in the way of finding what you are looking for on dating apps. Often times these tropes will clutter your feed with women who aren't actually interested in dating or hooking up with other women, which can make queer dating even trickier. Additionally, dating apps should be a safe space to find other queer people and these tropes can invade that space and make members of the lgbtq+ community feel uncomfortable. 

If you are looking for either of these things you are likely to find them on dating apps (especially Tinder), but if not just read people’s bios to avoid matching with these types. 

Finally, here are some tips to (hopefully) help you find whatever you’re looking for in a dating app.  

1. Know your intentions and choose a dating app based on your goals.  For example, if you want to find a relationship you should try Bumble and/or HER, but if you want to find a hookup you should try Tinder. If you are looking for friends try Bumble Bff.

2. Make your intentions clear in your bio and read other people’s bios when you are swiping so you can avoid a wasted match or swipe.

3. Add conversation starters to your profile like a question in your bio or connect your Spotify and Instagram accounts. Another good way to spark conversation is to add pictures of you and your pets together.  

4. Message your matches first! One of the biggest problems on queer Tinder is no one messages first because everyone is waiting for the other person to make the move. Just make the first move and message first, you really don't have anything to lose.

Good luck on all your swiping endeavors, I wish you success in finding queer love (or whatever you are looking for) on dating apps.


(Image Credit: 1, 2, 3)