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LBQT*S+ Dating

If All Dating Apps Are Based on Grindr, We Need to Talk about Cruising (Part I of III)

The first successful straight and lesbian dating apps emerged in the 2010s, including Tinder and HER. Widely known but woefully underexamined, these apps based their designs on, or even against, the first successful dating/hookup app: Grindr. In other words, developers imitated, refused, or even outright copied design, functionality, and structure to sell apps to straight people, lesbians, and other gay men (as the identity grouping went a decade ago, per big tech). Most importantly for my interest in lesbian, bi, queer, trans*, and sapphic (LBQT*S+) people’s experiences of dating and hookup apps, this evolution of dating apps from Grindr requires us to understand that all dating apps are based on—even by being designed alongside or against—the social and cultural hookup/dating norms of an app designed for, by, and about cis gay men, e.g. cruising.

In other words, this means that all dating apps are created from and/or against the

Take the LBQT*S Dating & Hookup App Survey!

Want to share about your experiences with dating and/or hookup apps as a lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans*, or sapphic person?


If you are over 18 years of age, you can take this online survey to share more about how these apps have or haven’t worked for you and how you want them to work.

The survey will take 20-35 minutes depending on how much you share.

This research is overseen by Dr. Jack Jen Gieseking and approved by the Mount Holyoke College IRB.…

How Dating Apps Researchers Tend to Study Women’s Experiences in Large Surveys

There are now thousands of studies on how people use, experience, and are even changed by their use of dating and hookup apps (hereafter: dating apps). I read hundreds of these articles, reports, and white papers that focus on or mention lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans*, and sapphic (LBQT*S) experiences in order to design my imminently launching LBQT*S Dating and Hookup App research survey. In this research, I unsurprisingly found the following trends in large surveys, even more recent projects:

  1. studies of “LGBTQ” people’s use of dating apps or studies about the experiences people from the LGBTQQIA2+ community tend to focus on gay men, almost exclusively assuming these men to be cisgender
  2. studies of women almost exclusively assume their research participants are cisgender, and often assume they are or focus just on heterosexual women
  3. dating app studies in general focus on the experiences of cisgender people, usually assuming that research

We Need More Lezbiqueertrans Dating App Studies, So I’m Launching One

In late 1999, I signed myself up for my first dating site, the now long defunct PlanetOut. I landed in New York City thinking I’d never meet anyone that I wanted to talk to at a bar or a club—primarily because I’d spent the last four years in a women’s college where I conveniently met all of my dates and girlfriends in our dorms. Within a few weeks on the site, I made a date with a queer femme who told me she was taken by my description of myself as a tall butch deeply obsessed with the poetry of Frank O’Hara. But the woman who met me out front of the Strand Book Store was not a match for me. Our politics worked; our cultural aesthetics were a fail. I was in management consultant-style non-iron Brooks Brothers (sigh, oh baby Jack); she wore mixed faux tiger-zebra-cheetah prints and had …