COLUMN: Exploring safe online dating for the LGBTQ+ community

April 21, 2022

Exploring safe online dating for the LGBTQ+ community by Jane Sandwood

Technology now means there’s never been an easier time to start online dating and find love. That doesn’t always mean the social stuff is any easier, but there’s now a real wealth of apps and sites to choose from that make chatting to others simple. Making connections and finding others in the queer community to share experiences with.

How safe is it though? Statistics from the National Crime Agency show that there has been a worrying increase in the number of sexual offences committed since the advent of online dating. It really is possible to date safely and have fun experiences too…

Don’t give too much personal info away

Guess what? People lie on the internet. It’s a complete shocker, right? What’s worse is that lying online takes pretty much zero effort and that means there are plenty of idiots with smartphones and dating apps waiting to make a nuisance of themselves. Make sure it’s not at your expense.

Don’t give too much personal info away on a dating profile. You’d be surprised how many people give little details that lead to their home addresses being searchable, or their mobile phone numbers being exposed. It’s OK to put a rough location, but no more. Think about using a pseudonym and not a real name, too.

Use real pictures, avoid anyone that doesn’t

Why would you go on a dating app and then… not show your own face? Part of the reason for meeting someone is a physical attraction. Use a good, clear headshot of yourself – and avoid anyone who doesn’t do the same on their profile. If someone won’t share a pic of their face with you, then that’s another red flag and there’s a good chance they should be avoided.

Look out for scammers 

Unfortunately, scammers tend to like LGBTQ+ friendly dating apps and sites. There are some warning signs to look for if you’re suspicious that someone is out to scam you. We’ve already mentioned the not showing your face trick, but also look out for folks who pester you right away for personal details you’re not comfortable giving, such as your phone number, home address, and the biggest one of all… the idiot that asks you for financial assistance completely without warning. Just no.

Check out their social media presence

Look, it might feel a bit stalker-ish, but sometimes you do need to check out whether or not someone is who they say they are. Don’t be afraid to go Facebook and Twitter hunting to make sure the person you’re chatting to really exists. If people are particularly private then they might not have all their information set to public, but if you’re suspicious in any way then this is one way of checking someone’s credentials.

Always meet in public

Your first meeting should always be in public. Never arrange to meet someone at home on an initial date. Whilst the idea of meeting up with MrSweetCheeks or LittleMissNaughty in private for your first tete a tete is tempting, you’re leaving an awful lot to chance. Your safety is the most important thing and you know what? If they’re right for you, they’ll respect that. If they don’t then walk on by and don’t turn back.

Remember, it’s your dating profile and your rules. Stick to these few simple tips and you’ll be safe and happy when you’re looking for love.