The Invisible Obstacles of Non-Binary Dating
After all, most dating apps were created with a gender binary in mind. Bumble, for example, describes itself as “women first” (according to an email to BBC Worklife from a Bumble representative), assuming a gender binary when it comes to how people match on the internet. ‘application. The Bumble representative, however, also notes that users can choose who they would like to be seen by on the app, such as whether they want to be seen by “women, men, non-binary people, a selection of two options , or everyone”.
Then there are dating apps like Lex, which primarily target users who identify as “queer, trans, gender-nonconforming, two-spirit, and non-binary,” according to the dating service’s website. A company representative wrote to the BBC: “Our app does not run on a binary system. It really is a smooth experience.
These apps can be useful for non-binary users, some of whom say meeting someone online gives them a better chance to screen out potential dates before meeting in person. Davis believes that “there is a level of safety that comes with online dating as a marginalized person, because you can curate what you see [and] what you don’t see.
From her past experience with dating apps, Beberoyale, which still includes her pronouns in her dating app profiles, has developed a sort of sixth sense for users who are likely to see them “as a woman”, they say. They discovered that it was better to date gay men than straight men, because they are “already in the [LGBTQ+] community,” which gives them a better understanding of gender identities that exist outside of the binary.
Since there is a certain level of safety and assurance for non-binary people in LGBTQ+ and non-heteronormative communities, many prefer to date specifically within these communities. “A lot of non-binary people I know aren’t as active on apps. They tend to prefer meeting people through queer or kink or poly communities,” says Powell, “because apps are a source of much higher level of misunderstanding… than these more communal spaces.
The problem with these in-person spaces is that they can be limited in terms of numbers. While dating apps have a seemingly endless number of users looking for dates, local LGBTQ+ communities are generally small worlds. “It just becomes a much smaller pool of people who will be able to be on the right page,” Powell says.
Make a “basic effort”
In the end, it’s not that hard to be respectful to non-binary people on a date, says Powell, “it just takes some basic effort.”