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Queer dating is an absolute minefield, no matter who you’re into. With the advent of online dating and the digital age, things are undeniably even more tricky. Now, that’s not to say that they’ve gotten worse. There are just various complexities that you need to consider now more than ever.

Don’t Lie On Your Dating Profile

Who isn’t on online dating these days? Sites like Badoo give us a really interesting pool of potential dates, whether you’re into men or women. There are diverse options to suit everyone. So, why lie? When you meet up, they’ll find out the truth anyway. The fact that there are so many people to choose from really highlights that there’s someone for everyone. If your profile says you’re 6″2, a doctor, and 160lbs – what do you think they’re going to say when this obviously just isn’t true? Be yourself. Plenty of people will be into it.

Ditch The Labels

Let’s make one thing clear: you are able to define yourself any way you would like. But when it comes to others, a lot of people don’t like it when you put them into a box. You might define the girl across the table as “butch”, or that guy you went for coffee with as a “bear”, but that doesn’t mean you know them – or that it’s for you to say out loud. This is even more important when it comes to sexuality or gender identity. You don’t get to call the shots and define anyone – that’s all on them.

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Be Inclusive

Erasure in the LGBT+ community is sadly all too common – so don’t be part of the problem. Everyone is entitled to their own space, and everyone’s identities are equally valid. So if you’re dating someone who used to be with someone of the opposite sex, but now they’re with you? Just be grateful. Bisexuals and pansexuals are all just on the sexuality spectrum; that doesn’t give you the right to say they’re not allowed to exist in the same community as you. And while we’re on the subject of inclusivity? Always, always correctly gender someone. And if you’re not sure how they identify, don’t rudely misgender out of spite.

Don’t Judge Them By Their Past

It’s a small world you know – you’re bound to run into your partner’s previous lovers. However, when break ups happen in the LGBTQIA+ community, the key word to really remember here is “community”, because in many cities, that’s exactly what it is. A lot of people are active in the scene — frequenting bars which are popular among gay, bisexual, lesbian and trans individuals tends to mean that it can sometimes feel like everybody knows everyone. If you start saying you don’t want to date queer people who have exes living locally, you’re going to rule out half of the community. For a lot of people, LGBTQIA+ areas feel like safe spaces; they’re not going to suddenly stop going and change all of their friends just because they went through a split. That sometimes goes for both partners… so they’re bound to see one another around.

Put Aside Your Prejudices

This is great advice for everyone in life, but as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s more important than ever not to judge others. If you have privilege of any kind in society, whether it be cis privilege, male privilege or even white privilege, it is not for you to put others in the community down. Everyone has preferences, but look inside yourself and be analytical about why they are as they are. If you have a certain “type” or a group of individuals you won’t date, you’re doing yourself – and equality – a massive disservice.


Be Honest About Future Goals

Some people will have a LOT of questions, even on the first date. It might seem a little weird to be talking babies and marriage within the first hour, but what’s the point wasting time? If you’re just looking for a hook up and they’re already hearing wedding bells; you should probably just leave it where it is. Things rarely work out between two people not on the same page. Honesty goes a long way with a lot of things, so no matter what it is, don’t be afraid to spell it out. If you’re moving overseas soon and you’re pretending like you’re not, being in denial isn’t going to make that fact go away.

Keep An Open Mind

It’s 2018 – not everyone is looking for the same thing, and times are also changing. If someone confides in you about their views on monogamy, their gender identity or even their HIV status, be open to having a frank discussion while casting your judgements aside. You are more than welcome to stick to your guns, but do so as politely as possible.

Make An Effort

You don’t have to be into fashion or a walking stereotype who knows everything there is to know about hair, but one thing there is absolutely no excuse for is not making an effort. Everyone can practice basic personal hygiene, so at the very least, have a shower. Guys; have a shave, or neaten up that beard. Girls (and guys), if you wear make up, dig out the good stuff. If not, just keep everything neat. It’s not all about looks, either. Even if you’re the biggest attention seeker going, make sure you let them get a word in edgeways. There’s nothing less attractive than a date where ALL they talk about is themselves. Gross.

Talk Politics

Ugh, so not sexy, right? Well, kind of. There’s nothing worse than finding out once you’re already invested in someone that your views totally don’t align. In our world where our rights to protection as LGBTQIA+ individuals hinges on the political groups in power and the laws that they make, this is especially important. Of course, views on others things matter as well. Guns, women’s rights, taxes and other matters are all key talking points, and it can be so frustrating when the ones you love don’t share your point of view. These things make a difference to your life, and it can be exhausting when someone disagrees.

Pick Up Your Half Of The Check

One of the most tired expectations in straight dating is that the guy should always pick up the check. Ugh, the patriarchy. Could anything be any more gross? With queer dating, there’s a level playing field. Although there will be some exceptions where this is part of the relationship’s dynamic, you can’t just expect that one person will be willing to pay. Yes, that means that even if someone assumes a more “dominant” or “masculine” persona than you, this doesn’t automatically void you of your payment responsibilities. Equality for all!

Keep Things Off Social Media

At least in the beginning. If you’re dating a lot and nothing seems to stick, posting about every new girl or guy is going to get a bit much – and people might not take you seriously when you finally find “the one”. Sure, it’s none of their business. But adding that guy you had drinks with that one time before you really get to know him is just going to get awkward when he sees you move onto the next just a week later. So stop checking in on Facebook with randoms, or tagging the latest in a long line in Instagram posts. Deleting people is stressful, and you can do without the drama.

Be Safe

Sorry to sound like your high school health teacher, but safe sex is important. Actually, the sad truth is that we probably don’t sound like your health teacher at all – since LGBTQIA+ individuals are routinely left out of discussions on such important matters. This needs to change, but that doesn’t mean you can’t educate yourself. There’s power in knowledge and feeling represented when it comes to these matters. Discussions on boundaries are also a massive part of this; you don’t want anyone to push you out of your comfort zone and along with safety comes informed consent.

Know Your Worth

Abusive relationships can happen to anyone, from all walks of life. Unfortunately, they are prevalent in the LGBTQIA+ community, just as in heterosexual relationships. Sadly, support is often lacking, but it’s important that you know the signs. It can take physical, emotional, financial, sexual and many other forms, and you have a right to walk away. Thankfully, there is specialised help out there that can give you the tailored advice that you might need. Don’t suffer in silence. Homophobic attitudes in some areas may mean you don’t immediately receive the right care, but don’t stop trying – you deserve to be helped and believed.

Look, how you conduct your dating life is entirely up to you. But having basic respect for others – and yourself – will really help you go a long way. Whether you’re looking for your happily-ever-after or simply some fun for the night, being a decent person is the only way.

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