Let’s Fix the Binary Problem with Dating Apps
Posted by Tristan
March 5, 2015
Recently, I’ve noticed a rising trend in the use of dating apps on my campus. The most popular of these is Tinder, which seems to have many problems associated with its binary-only friendly structure. Although Tinder allows for its users to open their sexual preferences to both “men and women,” there are no ways for queer or non-binary people to identify as anything other than a man or woman.
In the spirit of sex-positivity and gender equity, I’ve compiled a list of dating apps that are non-binary or have been created by women. Although these apps don’t seem to have nearly as many users as Tinder, they written about are far less and hopefully by spreading the word about their existence they will grow!
Thurst is a brand new dating app for queer and non-binary people. There goal is to “create a dynamic and beautiful app for the queer community that is inclusive and considerate to the community’s specific needs and desires.” It is currently still in the crowdfunding phase, but things are looking very promising for this app because it fills a huge gap in the market! It really sounds perfect.
Bumble was started by Whitney Wolfe, an ex-employee of Tinder, and released in December 2014. When she left the company she brought some people from Tinder with her to make the app, so it has a very similar layout. But there’s a catch: the ladies have the power! Male-identifying people have to wait until they are messaged to contact their matches. Each match disappears if the female person does not contact their connection within 24 hours. The app still has a few issues because it still functions within the binary, but hopefully that will be corrected in the coming months as the company grows. Definitely very gendered, but cool that it was started by a woman and tries to break male “first move” dominance in traditional dating and flirting.
Grindr is probably the most famous app for non-heterosexual people. It is focused on providing connections for gay/bi/curious men. Here is a really well-written, interesting article on some problems with Tinder and the “tribe” settings that it uses by a transgender journalist and user.
Dattch is an app for womyn searching for other womyn. The company ensures that men are not making accounts on the app, by offering profile verification. This app is great for lesbians, but not so much for people who have interests in all types of people. Here is the really cute Tumblr that’s on the site.
Of course there are many more apps than I’ve listed here! Plenty of Fish, OKCupid!, and probably many more lesser known apps have settings that allow people of all identities and genders to use.