New to the online dating scene? Looking for some inclusive online dating apps? Here are a few options to check out! There are hundreds of apps available and deciding which one to use can be overwhelming. Our selection is based on the following criteria: safety, installation ease, popularity, inclusivity, and spectrum of possibilities for potential dating outcomes.
These apps are not exclusively for hookups or dating; choose whatever type of interaction you want. All of them use Facebook algorithms which helps exclude most fake profiles and in some instances confirms the person’s identity in advance.
If you are new to online dating, these inclusive online dating apps can help get your mojo going…
Let the dating games begin!
1 – Tinder
Why not start with the behemoth? Chances are you’ve already heard about Tinder, so let’s dive in. If you want to create a profile on Tinder, you must:
- Be older than 18
- Have a Facebook account
- Fill in a 500-word biography section
- Add up to six images (the amount is optional)
After your profile is set up, start exploring. The principle is rather simple: Tinder shows you a photo with some additional info like name and age. If you aren’t interested, just swipe left. If you are, swipe right. However, if you really like this person, you can choose “Super Like” by swiping upward! When you get matched with someone else, that means you both liked each other’s photo and an option to message the person will appear. The rest is up to you!
This app is a decent selection for trans and non-binary folks (especially those who live in smaller towns!) because of the sheer size of the dating pool.
If Tinder feels too much like a hookup app, try OKCupid. It has similar options for LGBTQIA folks, but is often oriented towards longer term relationships. Go get ‘em, tigers!
2 – MeetMindful
MeetMindful is a smaller, niche dating app, curated for those with a penchant for mindful living.
It has some great options for the LGBTQIA crowd geared toward relationships rather than hook-ups. It also gives gender options for transgender and gender nonconforming folks to self-identify in more nuanced ways, which is awesome!
The free account allows you to browse and like matches, but to message you have to upgrade to the premium (read: paid) account. This is a nice fit for those who prize health, wellness, mindfulness, and fitness, and want to ensure they date folks who have the same core values. Selecting a dating app that hones in on like-minded people can make the online dating process feel a lot less random!
3 – Coffee Meets Bagel
This app is geared toward straight, cis women but has options for the LGBTQ crowd as well. To get started, you need a Facebook profile because the primary mechanism CMB uses connects you with friends of your friends.
In terms of safety and control, this is helpful: you will have at least one familiar link to the potential dating partner, so you can always ask your mutual friend about them to get more details.
- Mandatory profile and specified preference settings allow you to find exactly what you like
- You receive one “bagel” a day (photo of potential partner)
- Time restriction: You’ve got just 24 hours to swipe left for passing or right for liking; eight days to establish a contact
- In-app purchase options helps you discover your most liked photo, or buy more bagels and beans
However, keep in mind that this site is very gender-normative and was created because the founders “noticed that men and women date differently.”
4 – Bumble
Bumble is another cis hetero woman-centric app. The underlying mechanism in the Bumble dating app is not big news: swiping, choosing, and messaging. But the trick is that if you match with someone, the woman is the one who has to initiate the contact in the next 24 hours. The pressure to decide is a double-edged sword: you can initiate contact faster, but it can also lead to missed matches because you weren’t able to message them in time. Time to establish contact can be extended for an additional day.
When it comes to gay and lesbian matches, the situation is a bit more relaxed: either party can initiate the contact if they match.
5 – HER
HER is awesome because while it has the feel of a social media platform, it’s geared towards LGBTQ people. It began as an app for lesbian, bisexual, and bicurious women, but more recently the company has expanded its language by using the term womxn (to be more inclusive of transwomen and feminine-identifying non-binary people in addition to cisgender women). The app uses images representative of the spectrum of LGBTQ+ people in some of its marketing.
People who use the app can sign up for communities that specifically serve underrepresented groups like queer womxn of color and transgender womxn. The company states that the platform is meant to be inclusive to all, but makes no apologies for the the gendered name of the app or the fact that it was created intentionally to give queer women a space of their own.
Transgender men and masculine identifying non-binary folks will have to make their own determination to see if this app feels worthwhile. This app can be used for friends, hookups, or relationships and the getting the conversation started is easy! You are joining a community feed. You can like photos and send messages and the forum works very much like Facebook.
Finding an effective, inclusive online dating app for the trans and non-binary community still seems challenging (did somebody say “startup”?). A site that caters to your unique identity and sexual orientation without fetishistic undertones is truly needed. If you are trans or nonbinary and have a fave dating app, let us know in the comments!