We looked at the variety of gender and orientation options that were given by each app, as well as its general friendliness to the queer community. Based on that, we gave each a grade. Here’s what we found:
Match is one of the largest of the dating apps with a massive user base, but in terms of queer dating apps, it’s basically useless. Daters are limited to the tired old binary gender assignments and are only able to say that they are looking for “men”, “women”, or “both”. While Match does give you multiple options to describe your relationship with alcohol, your relationship to your gender and sexuality is barely even acknowledged. For people interested in queer dating, Match has little to recommend it.
First the bad: Like many other dating apps, OKCupid only allows users to say that they are interested in meeting “men”, “women”, or “both”, which is definitely not ideal. However, OKCupid has recently made some big changes that make it one of the better queer dating apps on the market. First of all, OKCupid now offers users 22 options for gender identity and 12 for sexual orientation, making it by far one of the most inclusive apps that we’ve seen.
Even better, OKCupid makes it possible for users to make their profiles invisible to straight people and to hide straight profiles from their matches as well. This makes it easier for queer users to focus on the people that they are there to meet and creates a more intimate community. While OKCupid isn’t getting everything right, they’re still doing better than most of the other dating apps out there.
As any queer person who has spent any time on Tinder will tell you, Tinder is the literal worst. While you are at least able to select whether you are interested in men or women, this selection seems to have very little bearing on who you actually see as you’re swiping. If you are a lady, expect to see dudes. If you are a dude, expect to see ladies. If you are anything in between, expect to be massively frustrated. Tinder is pretty clearly and unapologetically for straight people. If you identify as queer, don’t bother.
Plenty of Fish is another of the big dating sites that is getting basically everything wrong. Users are able to list themselves as being interested in either men or women, but not both. So here you don’t even have the ability to identify as bi. And if you think that you might beat the system by including information about your sexuality and gender identity in your profile, think again. Plenty of Fish has strict rules about not including “sexual language” in your profile so, if you’re not careful, your explanation could very well get your profile banned from the site. Next.
As one of the first dating apps exclusively for women, the primary drawback of Her is that it assumes that all of its users identify as women and doesn’t offer the ability to qualify that identification any further. However, Her’s sexual identity options are pretty extensive, offering everything from queer to pansexual. So if identifying as a woman isn’t problematic for you, Her could be a good Elite dating app option. For everyone else, this dating app is a bit too exclusive.
We’ll give Grindr this – it gets right to the point. There’s no way to select for gender or orientation. The assumption is that Grinder users are men looking to hook up with other men – the details beyond that don’t seem to be terribly important. And as far as selecting what you are looking for, the options seem to have much more to do with when (“right now” is a not so subtle option) than with who.