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How dating apps actually empowered me to be my best self

How dating apps actually empowered me to be my best self

Jacob Edwards presents the Queer Cuture podcast, and has contributed to the latest season of the #QueerAF podcast | Photo: @ItsJacobEdwards

As a nonbinary person, I’ve found navigating dating and dating apps a huge struggle.

‘Yeah you’re cute, but do you have a dick?’

And variations of that line – are the exhausting style of replies I get. And in my experience of using pretty much every dating app going, I’ve seen a lot.

As soon as I start being honest about my gender identity, confused cisgender people message me and ask what’s occurring downstairs.

Let’s just be clear. Asking ‘what’s in your pants? Is not an Ok pick up line.

Was going back to Grindr a mistake?

On a recent podcast I made for National Student Pride I took on the notorious hookup app, Grindr.

I wanted to see how much Grindr had changed since the ‘Kindr on Grindr’ campaign.

It saw the introductions of pronoun and gender identity options introduced to an otherwise very cisgender male focused app.

But it hasn’t changed the culture yet. This is what I found out.

Not so ‘Kindr’ yet

The results of this little experiment I did were quite negative.

I faced a lot of nasty words being thrown around by horny cis men.

It really didn’t feel like the kind of app I’d want to use to hookup with anybody, regardless of my or their gender identity.

While making this podcast, I came to realise when I’m on these dating apps, I have two settings.

Either I’m on ‘full beam mode’ where I blast everyone with too much too quickly.

Or I go into ‘your headlights are smashed, please exit the vehicle mode.’ Where I give nothing away about myself in the slightest, both are not me at all.

Jacob hosts the Queer Culture podcast on Shock Radio and regularly calls out classic 'face palm' transphobic moments | Photo: @ItsJacobEdwards
Jacob hosts the Queer Culture podcast on Shock Radio and regularly calls out classic ‘face palm’ transphobic moments | Photo: @ItsJacobEdwards

What I learned from dating apps

It’s made me realise that I need to pace myself, allow myself to be the real me, to be QUEER AS FUCK and be ok with that.

Because realistically, having a partner is all about being yourself – and them loving you for that.

They’re the one person who gets to see every single inch of you, in every sense of the word.

They will see you at your highest highs and lowest lows and come out of them loving you no differently.

Finding THAT someone is going to be more than just a swipe right or ‘Hey how was your day’ on some app. It is what these apps are missing all together.

Not to say you can’t find THAT someone on these apps, but you cannot force it.

The dating apps are broken, not me or my identity

When the time is right and the person is right that relationship will find you.

These apps are great for hookups. And let’s be honest here, there is no shame in hookups even if your goal is to find someone special.

But forcing a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship just simply does not work.

So my advice for you today is: Take your time, be QUEER AS FUCK. Be you. It’s what I’m doing, and I’m so much happier for it.

Jacob Edwards is a podcaster with Queer Culture and tells their story on the National Student Pride podcast #QueerAF. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Gay Star News is a media sponsor of National Student Pride 22nd – 24th February 2019.

See also:

‘Thirsty pics’ are destroying self-esteem and warping our views on dating

My trans vagina is queer as f*** – and that’s why I’m talking about it