’ talk and get right down to business.” Weaver says being able to tag her sexuality on an online site gave her the visibility she felt she lacked in IRL queer spaces as a femme-presenting gay woman.“People tend to assume that I’m straight because of how I present myself, and I think that’s always hard,” she says.There are several apps for gay women, some of which admittedly have become something of a punchline (really though, who actually uses Her? Gay men have Scruff, Jack’d, and perhaps the most well-known same-sex dating site of them all, Grindr, which has more than 5 million users.The relative anonymity of these apps presents a major appeal to closeted users.He says he was fresh out of a long-term straight relationship when he first started dating men online and was attracted to the privacy offered by the sites, especially given his family’s negative opinions about the “gay lifestyle.” “I was really scared to actually go to a gay bar and go up to someone; with these apps you could be more discreet and choose where to meet up with people,” he says, adding that these dating services “played a vital role” in his coming-out process.
It allowed her to meet friends and foster an LGBTQ community in her new city, slowly giving her the confidence to meet people organically—including her current girlfriend, whom she met offline.
Being outed to judgmental acquaintances or coworkers is less likely because anyone on the app is presumably part of that scene.
This was certainly the case for Kyle Govans, who met his fiancé on gay dating app Jack’d.
“So it was nice to be able to put myself in that network and for people to know and I can say ‘I am a queer woman’ and talk to other queer femme women.” Eric Resnick, an online dating coach and consultant for several major online dating companies, says even just 10 years ago, people seeking same-sex partners online were limited to fetish or sex sites.
“If you thought you might have an interest in the same gender, there were not a whole lot of places to look,” he says.
“If I had never used a dating site, I really think my coming-out process would have been a lot more drawn out and a lot more difficult,” she says.