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Meeting someone through your LGBTQ social network offers a level of Date Insurance that many queer women can't afford to do without.
"I want to actually hear more about the person than one headline and 10 selfies." Her founder Robyn Exton did tell CNN Money back in May that the rebranded app would have more text boxes and photos so that people could see "the interesting parts of how she lives," but a recent tour through the app shows that the extra info is still pretty rarely filled out.So, of the hundreds of dating apps that exist, why isn't there a better, queer-women-friendly dating app yet?Are lesbians not online dating because there's no good app, or is there no good app because lesbians don't like online dating?After all, she says, it's easier to ask all of your friends what that cute girl's situation is when they all know her and probably have for years.While that's obviously the same in straight dating, straight people don't have to figure out just how straight someone is, worry about navigating a relationship with someone who's not out, or potentially have to deal with someone using them as an experiment."And there needs to be the right mix of male/female participants (or whatever permutation makes sense)." With a 2011 report by the Williams Institute showing that only 3.4 percent of Americans self-identity as lesbian or bisexual women, the odds you'd find the correct permutation in a given area is slim indeed.
Chen adds that "until there's word-of-mouth, and enough people to generate a quality experience, the marketplace will suck." So lesbians who have primarily heterosexual friends might not know about the app, and gay women who hang out with other gay women probably see people they already know on the app (aka exes they'd rather not see ever again).
So how did online dating miss the lesbian community?
One reason could be because there just is no good app for queer women.
A 2013 study from Liverpool Hope University that studied 126 lesbian and straight women with the average age of 27 found that lesbians had and wanted to have just as much casual sex as straight women.
But the gay women I talked to said they need to have some kind of connection to the other person, even if their only intention is to hook-up (which is often is). But now on Tinder everyone seems to be afraid of being too earnest.
"On one hand, it's great that these girls have a venue in which to explore their sexuality safely, but on the other hand, I've learned a few times on first dates with women I met online that they've never been with a woman before," she says.