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The Top Dating Apps & Sites for LGBTQ+

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As an out and proud lesbian, I can say with confidence that when it comes to finding other queer women, my gaydar is absolutely awful. And I mean truly atrocious. If a woman is wearing a flannel shirt there’s a good chance I’ll think she’s either a lumberjack or just has good taste in warm clothing. Unless she’s waving a pride flag in my face, I remain oblivious. As you might imagine, this makes dating difficult, to say the least.

Because of my lack of the so-called gaydar, I’ve found that dating apps and websites are my best friend, as they make it clear right away what people are looking for in a partner. I’ve tried a number of these* with varying success, and have decided to rate them for all of you in the LGBTQ+ community who want to find a date, a partner, or just a quick hookup.

To do this well, I’ll be giving ratings on a scale of 1-5, and rating each app and website based on five criteria:

  1. Is the website/app only good for hookups?
  2. Is it only good for relationships?
  3. How LGBTQ friendly is it (more LGBTQ or straight)?
  4. How targeted is the audience (just for men/just for women)?
  5. And finally, is it only good in large cities?

*Disclaimer: As a woman, I realize that I don’t have a complete picture of the male experience on these sites, but I tried to be as objective as possible.

Image result for tinder logoTinder ★★★★✰

Tinder might have a bad reputation for hookups, but I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how many people find meaningful relationships on this app. And when I’m not matching with straight couples who only want to find a woman to join their threesome (just not my thing), I find there are a surprising number of LGBTQ+ individuals looking for relationships and hookups. And even in small towns you can still find people to match with! However, it loses a star because of how easy it is to catfish people, whatever their sexuality.

OkCupid ★★★✰✰

In my experience, OkCupid is wonderful if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, but only if you live in a large city. It’s pretty inclusive, with a fair balance of straight and LGBTQ users, but its user base seems to be mostly focused in urban areas. If you live in a small and/or rural town, you’ll be lucky to connect with more than three or four people.

Her ★★★★✰

This one gets a high rating because it’s one of the few that’s only for women. Like Tinder, it’s good for both hookups and relationships, and is very queer friendly. If it was more effective in small towns, I would give it five stars. Maybe that’s me being a little salty, but if I only find four women to talk to in my area, that’s not very validating, and leaves me in fear that I might die alone. Let’s step it up a notch, app designers!

Grindr ★★★★★

Woohoo! Five stars! Grindr may get a bad rap, but it meets all the criteria for a quality dating app. Targeted towards men (gay, bisexual, trans, etc), it seems to have a presence even in small towns, and is effective for both hookups and relationships. From what I can tell, most men who use it seem to have had a successful experience with it, and receives a good overall rating online.  

 

Bumble ★★★✰✰

Bumble is an app I’ve only tried once, and it gets points for originality. Very similar to Tinder, you vote yay or nay on people’s pictures, and if a match is made, the two of you can begin messaging. The difference is, Bumble requires that the woman messages first. A unique idea that shifts the power structure a little. That being said, it’s not super queer friendly (or didn’t seem to be for the month that I used it), and not great in small towns, although that might be due to the overwhelming popularity of Tinder. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed Bumble for its uniqueness, and it could be great with a larger user base.

Match ★★★★✰

Match is very similar to OkCupid except that it seems to be successful in less populated areas as well as big cities. It gets only four stars because of it being primarily for dates and relationships, instead of just hookups. That’s not necessarily it, but if you’re looking for a hookup site, Match might not be the place for that. On the plus side, Match boasts a high percentage of LGBTQ users, so you’re bound to find someone you click with.

Elite Singles ★★★★✰

This is one I haven’t personally tried, but that I’ve heard about a lot recently. So after reading through some reviews, I give Elite Singles four stars. Like Match, it’s pretty inclusive as far as LGBTQ+ friendliness goes, but is targeted for people in search of serious relationships. No left or right swiping on this one, my friends. But if you’re looking for love, I’d try my luck here for sure.

Zoosk ★★★★★

I’ll go ahead and give this one five stars, because of how much I love Zoosk. The app is super easy to use, it’s LGBTQ+ friendly, is perfect for hookups and serious relationships, and is pretty effective even in small towns.

There you have it, folks! Eight of the top dating sites, rated for your reference. Keep in mind that these ratings are based mostly on my experiences, and won’t be accurate for everyone. I’d recommend trying a few of them out to see which one works best for you. Which one is your favorite? Is there another one you might recommend? Tell us in the comments! And don’t forget to share this list with that one friend who’s always looking for love.

Originally posted 2017-09-28 13:35:23.


Also published on Medium.

A 22-year old poet and writer, Summer is the voice for Tell It Like A Lesbian and the features editor for TravelPRIDE. She loves horror movies, rock climbing, and is trying to start an herb garden in her spare time.

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Tell It Like A Lesbian

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My mother refuses to refer to my partner as anything other than a friend. We’ve been dating for three years and my mother still won’t acknowledge our relationship. Am I crazy for being angry about this and wanting to confront her? I feel insulted and it really upsets my partner. –Clarke

Dear Clarke, You’re not crazy for being upset at your mother. It sounds like you have every right to be angry, especially if after three years your mother can’t even acknowledge your relationship. If talking to her gently about it hasn’t worked after all this time, it may indeed be time to confront her more forcefully, as your partner’s feelings are also being hurt by this behavior. If you decide to confront her and her attitude remains unchanged, it may be time to cut ties. After all, your happiness is what matters most in this situation, regardless of whatever is causing such denial from your mother. You must put the health of you and your partner’s relationship first, and eventually, your mother may come to realize what she is losing because of her denial.

__________

Dear Tell It, Do you have any suggestions for handling depression? I’ve been really struggling with loneliness and I have no energy for anything, even stuff I usually enjoy. I feel like I have no one to turn to. –Otto

Dear Otto, Depression often causes the loneliness and sense of isolation that you are feeling. It’s important that you recognize this as a symptom of your depression and do your best not to isolate yourself as a result. Because depression can take a lot of energy, remember that your brain and body need time to recover. And remember that focusing on self-care is not selfish. Depression is an illness just like the flu and other diseases and should be treated with the same care.

On bad days, make a warm drink that you enjoy, read your favorite book or watch a show or movie you love. Spend some time by yourself to recharge, and then contact a friend or family member to let them know what you’ve been feeling. Make a plan to spend time with them, even if it’s only for an hour or two, preferably away from your house. Getting outside and into a new environment is an excellent way of resetting your brain. While I wish I could tell you otherwise, depression doesn’t just go away. You will likely go through phases of good and bad, and it’s important to learn the symptoms that are specific to you. If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Hang in there, and remember that there are people who care.

__________

Have questions for Tell It Like A Lesbian? Let me answer them! Submit your questions below (you don’t have to use your real name unless you want to), and see your question answered on our website!

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Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:10:06.


Also published on Medium.

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In December, This Round-The-World Cruise Visits 35 Countries

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Imagine being able to visit 66 ports in 35 countries over 141 days.  Such a trip has never been offered in the past, but now Viking Cruises, based in Los Angeles, is planning one.  

The Viking Sun will set sail on 15 December 2017. Furthermore, Cruise Critic has named Viking Cruises as one of the top 10 cruise lines for gay and lesbian travelers because it frequently partners with LGBT travel agencies and past travelers have reported good experiences.  In fact, the 2017 CRUIZIE Awards for LGBT Cruise Travel awarded Viking River Cruises the ‘Best River Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers.’  

So what is this journey going to look like?  Let’s have a look:  

Day 1: Depart From Miami

Miami

On 15 December 2017, the Viking Sun will leave Miami, the international city in Florida.  If you are embarking on this trip and are here in Miami, appreciate the barrier islands and Miami beach.  Here, find colorful buildings, surfside hotels and white sand.  If this sounds good, then spend a few days here, before making your way to the Viking Sun. 

Days 2 to 20: The Caribbean, Central America and Los Angeles

The Caribbean

On day 2, cruise the Caribbean Sea,  which covers an area of approximately 1,063,000 square miles. The deepest area in this sea is the Cayman Trench between Cuba and Jamaica.  Between day 3 and day 5, explore the city of Cienfuegos in Cuba, where a walking tour is offered.  This traveler explored gorgeous flamingoes, boat houses and more attractions.  

Between days 6 to 17, visit other countries lying in the Caribbean and South and Central America: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Then briefly visit  Mexico and Los Angeles, before cruising the Pacific Ocean.   

Days 30 to 43: French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji

Nuka Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

French Polynesia, an overseas French possession, consists of more than 100 stunning islands, stretching across more than 2,000 kilometers. Start cruising the South Pacific and visit Taiohae, the main town of Nuka Hiva (pictured above) in French Polynesia.  You will also visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, known for its scuba diving.  

The 15 gorgeous islands that make up the Cook Islands could provide a hint of paradise.  Warm tropical waters, crystal clear waters and aquatic life are just a few of the treasures that can be found here. Then in Tonga, discover white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforest.  Continue this tropical holiday in Fiji, which also has beaches and coral reefs.  

Days 44 to 113: New Zealand, Australia and Asia

New Zealand

In New Zealand, go on an extensive tour that includes the Bay of Islands, an enclave of more than 140 islands with beaches and water activities. Find an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, and gannets.  There’s even a camping ground here.

Go on to cruise the Tasman Sea, and discover several attractions in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, located in northeastern Australia, consists of golden beaches, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of Islands with dolphins, sharks, and colorful fish.     

Then cruise the Timor Sea and start exploring the culture and beauty of Asia. See Indonesia, and then go on to visit Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong , Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and India.  During this journey explore Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, which has beautiful islands topped with rainforests.  

Days 114 to 131: The Middle East, North Africa and the Central Mediterranean

Malta in the Central Mediterranean

Cruise across the Arabian Sea, and tour several countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Oman, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia. There is also a stop at Malta, located in the Central Mediterranean.  See wildflowers, plants, prehistoric sites, and walk to discover Malta’s natural beauty.  

Days 132 to 141: Europe

Murcia (Cartagena), Spain

See Portugal, England, and explore the beaches and hiking trails of Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In Spain, Murcia is a university city with beaches, water sports, wine, and historical sites.    

Want to explore these countries, and Interested in this cruise? Call Viking at 888-850-6260 or find out more here.

Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:08:07.

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Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Decade of Change

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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced the decision to make same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states. People all over the country celebrated, pride flags were flown, and for the first time, the White House was lit with rainbow lights. The decision was a landmark victory for the gay-rights movement, but behind it all was decades of litigation, activism, and advocacy.

In 1996, a law called the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the United States constitution. Individual states were able to recognize same-sex unions, but on a federal level, the words wife, husband, and spouse, were reserved specifically for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples were also denied social security survivor’s benefits and were unable to jointly file taxes. For almost a decade, the DOMA remained.

After 40 years of being together, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer traveled to Toronto to get legally married in 2007. A year later, their union was officially recognized by their home state of New York . In 2009, Spyer passed away at the age of 77. She left her entire estate to her wife, Windsor. Because of DOMA, the federal government did not recognize their union as a marriage and Windsor was required to pay over $300,000 in taxes on her inheritance. Windsor decided to challenge this because she was legally married and should have therefore qualified for an unlimited tax deduction on the inherited estate. After approaching several gay-rights advocacy groups, she was repeatedly denied and was unable to find representation.

Finally, Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP agreed to take on the case. In 2010, her case was filed and made its way through the circuits and in 2013 it had reached the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Windsor and announced that DOMA had been unconstitutional. By the same margin, the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage three years later.

In September of 2017, Windsor passed away at the age of 88. She left behind a legacy of activism and change, and hope. At her funeral, Hillary Rodham read a eulogy. “Because of her, people came out, marched in their first pride parade, married the love of their life. Thank you, Edie,” reported the New York Daily News.“Thank you for being a beacon of hope, for proving that love is more powerful than hate.”

Edith Windsor has helped to change the lives of thousands of LGBTQ couples and her legacy will continue to live on. Do you have a story of how legalizing same-sex marriage changed your life? Tell us in the comments!

Originally posted 2017-10-25 13:58:13.

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