How to stay safe when online dating in the LGBTQ+ community

How to stay safe when online dating in the LGBTQ+ community

As Pride month comes to an end in the UK, I thought now would be a good time to look again at ways to stay safe when online dating in the LGBTQ+ community.

To be honest, the tips I’m going to share wouldn’t be too dissimilar to general online dating advice but the sad truth is, some extra caution may be needed.

Whilst we like to think that the world has changed and we are now far more inclusive, the reality is, there are still far too many people out there who are unwilling to change their views and actively seek to cause distress.

So, in this blog, I’m going to share my best tips for staying safe when online dating in the LGBTQ+ community.

Choose your platform wisely

When you’re looking at online dating apps, it’s a good idea to check the policies of the platform you are using. Ask yourself questions such as,

  • Are they inclusive?
  • What do they do to protect their members?
  • Do they actively support the LGBTQ+ community?

Always use well known dating apps and websites, check reviews and ensure they have great security measures in place.

Grindr may be a popular choice but they don’t have the best reputation for keeping their users safe so it’s best to look around rather than settling for the one that comes to mind first.

Avoid sharing too much personal information

You may naturally be an over-sharer but this is a time to hold something back. Maybe use a nickname or just your first name and don’t share your address or phone number until you are 100% sure the person you are speaking with is genuine.

Rainbow flags are awesome, red flags are not!

Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If someone is asking you too many questions about your sexuality or gender identification, it could be a big red flag.

If you start to feel uncomfortable in the conversation, hit the block button. You may feel it’s a bit extreme but believe me, it might be better to do that than to risk your own wellbeing later down the line.

Video stole the radio star

Voice notes and phone calls are not good enough these days. Before even considering meeting someone, I would always suggest a video call first.

You can make sure you’re talking to the person they’ve described, and look out for anything weird that makes your hairs stand on end. Don’t laugh, the body has an amazing way of protecting you even when you don’t know you need it!

Consistency is everything

Look out for inconsistencies. If someone is trying to bait you, their story will likely not hold up. It may be that there’s slight changes in what they’re telling you or they become uncomfortable when you question something so keep an eye out, this can be an easy tell tale sign.

The clue is in the photo

Be careful with the photos you share 

Make sure there’s nothing that can identify who you are or where you live. For example, tattoos with names or a background with a well known place.

Of course, these tips are relevant for anyone who is online dating so let’s look at more LGBTQ+ specific tips.

Report report report

If you suspect at any time that the person you’re speaking to isn’t who they say they are or have ulterior motives, don’t be afraid to report and block.

The online dating app should have policies in place to deal with these things so don’t be afraid to use them.

Happy meeting place

If I was giving online dating advice to anyone, I would say,

  • Meet in a public place
  • Always tell someone where you are going
  • Have a friend on speed dial

After hearing some of the dating experiences of people in the LGBTQ+ community, here are a few extra tips that you might find useful:

  • Consider sharing your location if possible with a friend. Sync your apps so someone knows where you are at all times. 
  • Choose a location that you know is particularly inclusive. Make it as difficult as possible for your date to become aggressive towards you.
  • If their demeanour is uncomfortable, make an excuse and a sharp exit! 

Respect your own boundaries

Know what you want to get from the date and more importantly, make sure your date knows that too! It’s so important to respect your own boundaries and for your date to show that same respect towards you. And it goes vice versa. If this is a genuine date, don’t push your luck!

Prioritise your own wellbeing

I know online dating can and should be exciting but don’t get carried away. Keep your own safety and wellbeing as a priority. Make yourself aware when something doesn’t feel right and never take risks. Don’t put yourself in any situation that feels even a little bit icky. It’s just not worth it!

Pride Month 2024 has been fantastic and regardless of your sexuality or gender status, I hope you have had a great time raising awareness and supporting inclusivity. Whilst my tips are there to keep you safe, my biggest piece of advice is to have fun and never stop being the brilliant authentic you that I know you are!

Happy and safe dating!

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