Navigating the dating scene as a sapphic person can feel complicated. Depending on where you live, finding other queer people in your area might prove a challenge in itself — not to mention finding a romantic match. But finding the right dating app, especially those specifically built by and for queer people, can make navigating the singles scene feel refreshing or even affirming. The best queer dating apps typically offer broader gender identity options, less heteronormative structuring, and even avenues for forging queer community in your area.
When looking for a queer-friendly dating app, it can take some trial and error. “Something I try to avoid is dating apps that have clearly been built around heteronormativity,” advises Katie Haan, an actor and intimacy director who creates peer-led sex education content on TikTok. “The option to change your settings to ‘only women’” — as apps like Tinder, Bumble, and others have done — “felt like an afterthought when the app was clearly built for hetero swiping.”
Still, since dating apps for queer women and nonbinary folks may be smaller, content creator Ashley Whitfield says that changing your settings to reflect your sexuality on apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge can still yield great results — so long as you’re prepared for potential “unicorn hunters” and other obstacles.
“Until more sapphics join the apps,” Whitfield says, “the mainstream options will continue to dominate the market.”
Whether you’re looking to support an app built specifically for sapphic people, or want something that ditches the swiping format entirely, there’s plenty of dating apps out there that offer a more inclusive online dating experience. Here are some of the best queer dating apps out there, as recommended by sapphic people.
Both Haan and Whitfield enthusiastically recommend Lex, a text-only app for queer people. “It truly does feel like a safe space on the internet to find any connection, whether platonic or romantic,” says Whitfield. Haan says that the app is also great for “finding queer events and perhaps more specific dating requests.”
Inspired by the personal ads section of On Our Backs (the first erotica magazine made by lesbians for lesbians in the U.S.), Lex is a text-centered forum where queer people can meet new lovers and friends. The app is specifically made for queer, trans, gender non-conforming, two spirit, and non-binary people, and has a strict no-tolerance policy for transphobia, racism, fatphobia, ableism, religious discrimination, and hate speech. When you sign up, the app prompts you to specify your pronouns from a list of options, and also allows users to type in their own neopronouns.
You can post or peruse on Lex. To post, specify whether you’re writing a Personal or Missed Connection, then send your thoughts out into the queer ether. While browsing, you can also filter by distance, keywords, and age. So, if you’re hoping to find a Missed Connection written by the barista you just met wearing a MUNA shirt, you can narrow down your options.
If you’re reading a post that feels like it’s written by your soulmate — platonic or romantic — just tap their username and click “MESSAGE” in the top right tab. “It really feels like a little sapphic corner of the internet,” Haan says.
Though not specifically designed as a queer dating app, Haan highlights Hinge due to its many options for presenting yourself on the app. “The more you can say about yourself,” Haan says, “the more it gives people chances to connect about common interests when you chat.”
Though the format of the app is fairly similar to swiping counterparts, Hinge markets itself as “designed to be deleted.” It accomplishes this through its focus on prompts, the ability to specifically “like” someone’s answers as a way of finding mutual interests, and its unique bio options, which nudge you to add info like whether you want to have kids. “I have to say I am biased, as I met my current partner on Hinge,” says Haan.
Along with photos and text, Hinge recently added a voice prompt feature for an added personal touch. You can also link out to your Instagram and Spotify. So, if meeting a fellow Pharb or Mitski fan is a non-negotiable for you, you can get that out of the way.
Hinge is available for free for iPhone and Android devices. A Hinge premium subscription ($29.99/month) gives you access to extra filters for things like height and substance use, as well as unlimited likes.
HER markets itself as a dating app and chat space for “queer women, lesbian, bi, nonbinary, trans, and gender non-comforming folx,” and has received the Apple App Store’s Editors’ Choice Award for three years in a row. “HER was the first sapphic-only app I learned about when I came out and I was thrilled to join, but the interface was atrocious,” says Whitfield. “It’s gotten a significant facelift since then.”
The app functions like most dating apps, allowing users to swipe right or left on the profiles of nearby people. Similar to Lex, HER offers a long list of pronoun, sexual identity, and gender identity options, along with space to describe yourself in your own terms. HER’s profile setup is similar to Hinge, with spaces for one’s height, drinking habits, and more — along with, naturally, your zodiac sign.
Beyond HER’s swiping feature, though, one unique feature of HER is its “Feed” tab. Designed to connect queer people with similar interests and spark community conversations, HER users can subscribe to certain “Communities” on their feed — including coming out advice, pride celebrations, LGBTQ+ parents and families, and more.
HER is available for free for iPhone and Android devices. There’s an option to subscribe to a HER premium membership starting at $14.99/month, which gives you access to extra features like ad-free swiping, incognito mode, unlimited swipes, and more.
How To Change Your Gender & Sexuality Settings On Dating Apps
Given the limited number of queer-friendly dating apps, many sapphic people still turn to apps originally created for straight people. The key to finding success on them lies in choosing the right gender and sexuality settings.
“Most of the dating apps currently available are what you make them,” says Haan. “I think it is possible to curate your profile to represent yourself well and simultaneously ward off folks who may not align with your values or personality.”
On Hinge, you can specify your gender identity and sexuality, with an option to self-identify in both categories. To ensure that your matches are aware of this upfront, you can also choose for your gender and sexuality to be visible on your profile.
On Tinder, gender identity options are a bit more binary. Users can choose between man, woman, or to write in their gender identity. But they have pick whether they’d like to be included in searches for men or women only. You can also choose from a variety of sexualities on Tinder, and opt to make your sexuality visible on your profile. When it comes to your swiping experience, you can choose between seeing women, men, or everyone.
OkCupid also offers multiple gender identity options, as well as a long list of choices for the “I want to date…” category. You can also check an “Open to everyone” option. OkCupid also goes a step further in letting users specify whether they’re looking for new friends, long-term dating, short-term dating, or hookups. If you’re looking to avoid any unicorn hunters, this can ensure you’re only matching with like-minded people.
The post 3 Best Queer Dating Apps, According To Women & Nonbinary Folks appeared first on Bustle.