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If you downloaded a job application form which said ‘no blacks or Asians’ you’d no doubt be a bit taken aback, whatever your ethnicity. And if you were one of the ostracised minorities, you’d probably want to report the offender to the appropriate authorities. But you only need to take a casual glance through the plethora of hook-up apps and dating sites to see these exclusionary terms bandied about like confetti.

Let’s face it, a fair proportion of men have certain types; some of us have a small range of people we’re attracted to, for others it can be much more extensive. I’ve always found myself drawn to Caucasians (I’m black), but I’d never state that on my profile in a way that is derogatory to others. Nowhere on my PlanetRomeo account do I use prejudicial expressions such as ‘no non-whites’ or ‘fat dudes need not apply’. Nor would I ever.

Regrettably, there are far too many who would. I’m not sure what percentage of individuals using dating apps or sites do use bigoted terminology on their profile, but from what I can see it’s quite prevalent. I remember one particular page on Adam4Adam whose owner had a whole list of ridiculous requirements: ‘no blacks’, ‘no Asians’, ‘no Indians’ (clearly not realising that India is in Asia), ‘no South Americans’, ‘no fats’ and even ‘no one under 9 inches’. He should be so lucky.

Maybe a number of those who express racist sentiments wouldn’t act in such a callous way in the real world. If, for example, they walked by a bar which presented pre 1970’s America segregationist signs like ‘No Dogs, Negroes or Mexicans’, you’d hope they wouldn’t enter. It’s much easier to be xenophobic in cyberspace where the conversations happen with an endless deluge of avatars. It’s even easier when you consider the overwhelming majority of these represents people you’ll probably never come into contact with.

There are suggestions that this behaviour has manifested itself because of the fact that gay people are marginalised in society from an early age. During our formative years we are made to feel that at the very least there is something wrong with us, or even that we are freaks and sexual deviants. Being perceived this way can create a plethora of emotions, including anger, confusion, shame and alienation. It can be contended that such a harmful cocktail could lead us to subconsciously exclude specific people from dating platforms, in the way that we ourselves have been excluded.

There’s also the fact that many simply use these services for instant gratification; so they spell out in stark terms what and whom they want, irrespective of causing offence to others. But wouldn’t it be a far better idea just to state the guys you are into, and not what you don’t want? Surely, as our community has often suffered victimisation we shouldn’t project it back out there; a little bit of sensitivity wouldn’t go amiss when pursuing our sexual satisfaction. Isn’t it time to break this perpetuating circle of hate?

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Klub is one of the LGBTQ+ clubs that makes up gay London

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