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The Lonely Lesbians of Tinder: Swiping as a Gay Girl

When I was in high school, I thought lesbian dating was the worst. I mean, all dating was horrible in high school, to start off, but when most girls you meet aren’t even attracted to your gender, it makes it even harder.

There’s this overwhelming feeling when you realize that you’re a lesbian that you’ll never find love – that most women are straight and the few lucky lesbians who happen to stumble into a relationship are mythical. I would watch movies like I Can’t Think Straight or But I’m a Cheerleader on Netflix and decide that they were fairytales, something that real life lesbians couldn’t find.

I rejoiced when I came to college and finally had the ability to use dating apps. Tinder had just come into popularity, and I thought that meant all I had to do was swipe a little and women would come falling in my lap.


My first experience with the women into women section of Tinder, or what I like to call “Lesbian Tinder,” was about five swipes and a notification that there were no more women in my area. Each day maybe one more match would pop up, and sometimes Tinder would even throw in a dude even though I had my settings set to women only. It was kind of like Tinder was saying, “You sure you’re not straight?”

Then, when you do match with a woman there’s a very good chance the first thing she’ll open with is, “Hi! Me and my boyfriend are an adventurous and open-minded couple seeking a third person to spice up our relationship.” So, between the couples seeking “unicorns” and the random men that Tinder throws into the mix, what I was left with were a few women who started the conversation with “hey, what’s up?” and then ended the conversation with “nm u?”

Bumble wasn’t much better. I deleted that app after the same five people kept showing up repeatedly for a few months. And Coffee Meets Bagel? Forget it. Any other dating app designed for straight people would deliver maybe two matches and the rest would be across the country.

Lesbians don’t really have bars or clubs either. If you go to a bar like Woody’s, the place is so oversaturated with straight girls that you’re automatically assumed to be one of them. Buzzfeed made a video where gay men and lesbians swapped nights out – the lesbians sent the gay men to stay in with a movie, pizza, and wine while the gay men sent the lesbians to a club. Some lesbians might say we don’t have bars because we’re just naturally more inclined to staying at home, and while I partially agree, I think that the prioritization of men in the LGBT community over women has something to do with it as well.

So, what’s a lonely lesbian to do? Either find a Tumblr girlfriend or venture into the world of apps. Because my Tinder experience didn’t exactly end well, I decided to go to lesbian-specific apps.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

As embarrassing as it is, I’ve tried every lesbian dating app available on the App Store.

Her became my go-to dating app because it acted as a social network for queer women, and men or couples seeking a third were reported. Although Her was a better app, you still see the same people over and over. I’ve realized that I could recognize most of the lesbians in Philadelphia on the street just from scrolling through the “women interested in women” sections of dating apps.

The other issue with apps like Her is that no one wants to message each other first. I don’t know if that’s a female issue because of the way women are socialized or if everyone on dating apps is just lazy, myself included. I would always end up with a lot of matches and no messages.

I actually did end up meeting someone on Her, but not after years of swiping and “What’s up? Nm u” to trudge through. My advice to any queer woman looking for women on dating apps is to not stress. Now that I’m in college, I’ve seen many happy lesbian couples who met both in real life, and on dating apps. All of these couples will tell you the same thing that we’ve all heard time and time again: it’ll happen when you least expect it.

Be a happy, single lesbian and maybe one day, your Hayley Kiyoko will fall into your lap.


Caitlin is a senior at Drexel University in a dual degree BA/MA program in English and publishing. She is passionate about ending mental health stigma, fighting for LGBT rights and advocating for feminism.