Dating as an LGBTQ+ person has the potential to be a living nightmare. Even if you use dating apps that claim to be created for/inclusive of queer women and non-binary folk, you can still be at risk of receiving hateful transphobic, biphobic, homophobic and sexist abuse. At the same time, dating apps can also be lifelines for people who don't have an IRL community.
One person who knows this all too well is activist, model (and now Tinder ambassador) Munroe Bergdorf. She spoke exclusively to Cosmopolitan UK about what dating has been like for her as a pansexual/queer and trans person.
Do you use dating apps?
"I’m in an open relationship and I’ve been with my girlfriend for nearly five years. But we can date other people as well. I’m not necessarily on the hunt, but I’m dating. I think because meeting people when you’re LGBTQ+ isn’t as straightforward as if you were straight, and because there’s less of us, [dating apps] have kind of been my go to. [Apps] are a space where I feel I can be honest about who I am. Identity is not black and white. I go by she/her pronouns, but I probably feel a little bit non-binary as well."
Who/what identities do you look for on dating apps?
"I prefer to date people that also identify as queer. A lot of trans amorous men (straight men who find trans women attractive) identify as straight, and I have dated straight guys in the past and it just doesn’t really seem to work for me, because so much of my identity is within the queer community. With functions like Tinder's new orientation feature, you can specifically search for somebody who also identifies as pansexual or bisexual, or fluid within the queer spectrum. This just allows me to meet someone that would be closer to who I would want to meet. I’m 32, I know what I want and any app that allows me to refine that search as much as possible is a winner in my eyes."
What's the best experience you've had?
"I dated somebody from Tinder and the attraction wasn’t there, but I could just tell that I was going to be friends with this person. They’re an extremely attractive person, but it just wasn’t right. This person also educated me a lot on how I should be moving my work towards being more inclusive. [Dating apps] are a great way of meeting people you wouldn’t necessarily cross paths with.
"So many people in the LGBTQ+ community use dating apps to meet friends. I think that’s extremely valid as well. Being able to search for people who are non-binary and like you at a time where public understanding of that identity is becoming increasingly concerning is such a positive thing."
Have you encountered some nightmare people on dating apps?
"I’ve had quite a lot of bad experiences with guys that are trans amorous. I find a lot of those men will also be new to the trans experience or some may see me as a fetish, and purely there to satisfy a sexual urge. I think it’s like a demeanour and a lack of respect for trans women. People who just see us something to gratify them. It’s soul destroying when you’re trying to find someone who you have something genuinely in common with and the majority of people that are coming up in your search are people who just see you as you know a sex object. That was really difficult to deal with.
"Other than being sent a dick pic straight off the bat, I've been asked extremely intimate questions straight away about my body. That’s why I’m more keen to date someone who identifies as pan or fluid, because bodies aren’t such a big deal. If you’re with someone who has the potential to find anybody attractive, then being fetishised isn’t such a thing."
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