Essay: The problems with dating while queer

Dating on campus is hard. There are a lot of boxes to check: they can’t wear a Canada Goose jacket or live in Guthridge Hall, but they get bonus points if they sport a suit for an internship on Capitol Hill or reside in Shenkman Hall.

But nothing compares to the trials and tribulations of dating while queer at GW. Finding a nice man is more like a series of herculean challenges than a process of delicate courtship. First, there are the apps: Tinder and Grindr. While the noxious hook-up oriented culture of both apps has been thoroughly critiqued, outright discrimination can also be found on seemingly innocent swipes and dating profiles.

For people like me who identify as “femme,” the aura of many mobile dating platforms is outright exclusionary. Panning through, I’m faced with messages like “no fats, no femmes, no Asians” or “Masc4Masc” on Grindr.

Even positive features, like the option to list your preferred pronouns or gender identity, are abused by men who feel the need to list their gender as “daddy” and their pronoun as “papi.”

But meeting men in the wild isn’t any easier.

Gay bars have the same toxic atmosphere of the dating apps mentioned above. Instead of discriminatory messages, you have cliques of boys that openly sneer and snarl at anyone they perceive to be feminine.

For queer folks, finding that right person or people can be affirming because it means finding someone who inherently understands at least a portion of the struggles that you face as a queer person. This level of understanding and empathy is transformative and as hard as it may be to find – it is out there somewhere.

Dating while queer, especially while feminine, is laborious and demoralizing. Finding love can feel impossible in the queer community, but it’s not.

In fact, finding love, romantic or otherwise, is of great importance for queer folks. We live a lonely existence, one where our community is not immediately accessible to us. We are forced to seek out our lovers and friends in a way straight people do not. While it may not be easy to find “the one,” it is definitely worth it.

Jack Murphy, a freshman majoring in philosophy, is a Hatchet columnist.

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