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A Queerer World through Dating

Robyn Exton

Jun 08, 2023

A Queerer World through Dating
  • Ah, the intricacies of dating, so often akin to navigating a vibrant, bustling, and, at times, utterly perplexing labyrinth. But fear not, dear friend. For those of us in the FLINTA community, platforms like HER stand as guiding beacons, illuminating the twists and turns of this intriguing maze. Welcome uncertainty as a friend on this journey. Remember, the thrill is in exploration, the missteps, the lessons learned. You are the epitome of unique radiance, and it’s not just acceptable – but rather, imperative – to boldly be you in the quest for connection.

    Rainbow Washing and the Need for Authentic Queer Support

    How can you boldly be you when rainbow washing and homophobia dominates the headlines?. Pride season tends to arrive with a burst of color – rainbows galore, plastered by corporations and brands with a level of enthusiasm that can border on the tragicomic. Beneath the carnival of rainbow washing, though, lurks a multitude of mishaps, and more pertinently, the persistent sidelining of authentic queer individuals and businesses. It’s time to pivot from the shallow glamour of rainbow capitalism towards lifting the genuine, heartfelt narratives of the queer community.

    Illustration of grocery bag. Text says Shop Gay, Date Gay, and is repeated in a pattern

    This Pride: Don’t Settle for Less than Gay

    As the world cautiously emerges from the pandemic’s grip, reclaiming the pulsating rhythm of gay bars, clubs, and the vibrant queer nightlife, let’s take a moment to reimagine our understanding of community. As Pride season unfurls, let authenticity be your guide. Resist the urge to seek your queer tribe in spaces dictated by heteronormative norms. The landscape of LGBTQIA tech is flourishing; let it be the fertile ground where you sow the seeds of community-building.

    To that end, HER has joined up with Bent, to make your queer connections easier and more authentic than ever.

    HER and Bent: A Partnership Forging Queer Connections

    This Pride, HER is thrilled to partner with Bent, an innovative queer platform that brings together diverse communities. Bent supports queerness around the world, facilitating connections and helping members make new friends. With this partnership, we hope to uplift another queer company that shares our vision of fostering safe, nurturing spaces for queer individuals to connect and thrive, in a world that often makes it challenging.

    With Bent’s launch this Pride, we’ll be promoting inviting FLINTA into Bent in select cities. Want in? Use HER while in one of the launch cities for special access to the most sapphic group chats you’ve ever experienced:

    • Columbus OH 
    • Oklahoma City + Tulsa, OK
    • Nashville TN
    • Denver CO
    • Raleigh NC 
    • Austin TX
    • Orange County CA
    • Brisbane, Australia 

    Don’t see your city above? It’s easy for anyone to start any kind of queer community on Bent! You can get started here.

    About HER

    Born from a vision to create a safe and nurturing space for the FLINTA community, HER was launched in 2015 by founder and CEO Robyn Exton. This London-based app has since flourished, stretching its rainbow across 113 countries. It’s not just the spread that makes HER a global platform; it’s also the linguistic inclusivity, with the app available in English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese.

    Today, HER proudly boasts 13 million users worldwide, with the largest concentration being in the USA, contributing to a whopping 60% of its audience. The vibrant communities in the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines make up the next largest markets.

    While the journey has been exhilarating, it hasn’t been without its challenges. But every milestone, every user added, every connection formed – is a testament to the unwavering support from the queer users who use HER to find love, family, friends, and more.

    With each passing day, HER continues to evolve, adapting to the ever-changing landscape of queer dating, all while staying true to its roots – of forging connections, fostering self-discovery, and above all, celebrating queer joy.

    About Bent

    Bent, developed by Castro Labs, is revolutionizing the way diverse queer communities connect and flourish. Launched officially during Pride month, Bent aims to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical queer spaces, promoting meaningful commonalities and fostering genuine relationships.

    Throughout its early quiet phase, Bent has already facilitated the growth of groups like Club Quarantine – renowned for their original online queer dance parties, Queer Surf – led by professional surfer Kyla Langen, and STRAPPED – a Toronto-based queer nightlife initiative that supports BIPOC members of the queer community. Bent makes it easy for anyone to start any kind of queer community on Bent! (You can get started here.)

    Bent stands out with its commitment to community, rather than content. Central to its mission is a belief that communities flourish with attention and care, not punitive measures. Therefore, every community within Bent is guided by dedicated hosts who facilitate vibrant conversations and help their members connect on a deeper level.

    The platform is designed with diverse queer folks in mind, offering open gender/sexuality fields and implementing queer-first policies. Safety is paramount at Bent – all members are required to undergo a selfie verification to ensure authenticity and abide by House Rules designed specifically to protect and cater to the needs of queer individuals.

    With this partnership, HER & Bent set out to color outside the lines, shake the foundations, and start a revolution in the realm of queer connections. It’s more than just an alliance – it’s a flamboyant challenge to the status quo and a cheeky wink to those who dare to love boldly!

    Embracing Queer Joy

    Despite the ups and downs, the heartbreak & heartache,, there’s an undercurrent of sheer joy in being queer. As much as we’ll rant about the failures of megacorps to serve us, we are stronger when we focus on being the change. So it’s time we pivot the focus from the negatives to the celebration of queer makers, shakers, and community leaders. Let’s shift the narrative from corporate mistakes and rainbow-washing to the celebration of fearless queer heroes. Because at the end of the day, we can’t take them down if we don’t come together as a community first. 

    So here’s our appeal this Pride: embrace the unpredictable roadmap of gay dating, support unapologetically queer businesses, and most importantly, be gay, without reservations. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that outside of the systemic oppression, years of internalized stigma and our whole community’s collective trauma, gay dating is often… pretty mundane! And with HER and Bent by your side, let’s make this world a little queerer, one connection at a time.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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