According to an Urban Institute study, LGBTQ+ singles experienced a sexual victimization rate of 23.2%. That’s roughly 11% higher than the heterosexual rate. From outlandish statistics to negative experiences, one thing has become blatantly obvious: queer, transgender, and pansexual singles need their own space.
And that’s where LGBTQ+ dating apps come in. Providing an open, safe, and supportive arena for anyone to date anyone else in any way they please, these dating sites and apps are growing in popularity. With millions of members worldwide, LGBTQ+ dating apps cater to those who identify their gender and sexuality differently than the average heterosexual. Here are ten of the best LGBTQ+ dating apps with features geared towards helping you find love, friendship, and everything in between.
A Closer Look at Our Top 10 LGBTQ+ Dating Sites
The dating app for female power
HER was a pioneer in lesbian dating apps, and has earned bragging rights as such. Over the years, HER has developed into an all-inclusive platform for women of all types, identities, and sexual preferences. You’ll find no less than 17 sexualities and 18 gender identities on the profile selection list, and HER is all-embracing when it comes to pronoun assignment. HER’s app is easy to use, loaded with communication features, and, to sweeten the pot, the brand hosts local events for more networking.
- Newsfeed and networking events
- Loads of gender identities/sexualities
- The original app for queer women by queer women
- Limited search functionality
- Can only message between friends & matches
Serious guy-time for fast flings and relationships
The HER of gay dating apps, Grindr is geared towards setting up men seeking other men. The popular dating app has a reputation for being a hook-up app, but it’s not exclusively for this purpose. Available for gay, bi, trans, and queer singles of every style, Grindr is the go-to app for a massive network of like-minded dudes. Thanks to its powerful geolocation feature, Grindr is a great solution for people who’ve recently moved, relocated, or are traveling. You can even find a date within one hour of logging on from just about anywhere in the world!
- Awesome geolocation feature for fast finds
- Tremendous network of gay, bi, trans, etc., guys
- Safety first with Grindr for Equality campaign
- Only for the dudes
- Not great for serious relationships
The mainstream app for LGBTQ+s
OKCupid may be a mainstream dating app, but it is certainly doing a great job of making everyone (even LGBTQ+ers) feel right at home. With 22 different gender identities and 12 sexual orientations, LGBTQ+ers will certainly find their place. What’s more, OKCupid lets you hide your profile from heteros and cisgenders if you choose. OKCupid offers a ton of functionality for a lower price than most. Many people can get by without even paying a premium.
- Loads of identities and orientations
- Can hide your profile from straights
- Lots of features, most available for free
- Ad-based freemium version
- No video chat
Gay dating made simple with tools to help out
Hornet really maximizes on the social aspect of dating, and it gives gay men a great platform along with a tremendous array of tools to get their game on. From the helpful tips on how to avoid that awkward gaydar moment, to a list of bathhouses in your area, Hornet is all about hooking you up with all the info you need and the hotties you want to impress.
- Great search functionality
- Excellent gay dating tools and info
- Smart algorithm for better matches
- Very ad-bloated
- Need Facebook or Google to log in
Sexual encounters for gay men of all flavors
Scruff is known as being a hotspot for gay hookups. But not just any queer dudes. These are tailored even more to the scruffy, built dudes. If that gets you feeling hot under the collar, Scruff’s blatant nudie shots will really get you going. Aside from the bold, no-pretenses flavor, Scruff fans enjoy open sharing features, and fun extras like a live-streaming game show members can play together to get to know one another better.
- Open messaging videos, and photos
- No-nonsense communication/pretenses
- Fun features
- Not the place for dedicated relationships
- A lot of overlap from other dating apps
The social networking app w/ femme dating power
Bumble was launched to put power back where it belongs: in the hands of women. Today the popular dating app has grown to include a more global networking opportunity and embraces a warm and accepting community feel. Just about anyone can hit up Bumble for friendships, business relations, social networking, and, of course, relationships. The emphasis is still on feminist power though, with the right to initiate messaging restricted to women and non-binary members. You can also use Facebook signup for faster, easier profile building and making connections.
- Heavy on the female power
- Great for networking & other non-romantic connections too
- Unlimited free messaging
- Limited initial messaging
- Matches disappear after 24 hours
Fab femme community support & social network
Another great app designed by lesbians for lesbians, Scissr embraces the feminine nature. The app itself is sleek and easy to use, and you can utilize Facebook sign-in for faster service. Scissr is great for networking, connecting to the all-inclusive LGBTQ+ community (while geared for female dating, Scissr embraces queers, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, bicurious, and more), and getting some real-life relationship advice. The platform offers multiple sexual identities, including pansexual and asexual and is free to use.
- All-embracing sexuality network
- Good for community support, advice, friendships, too
- Easy Facebook login
- Have to use Facebook
- Smaller member base than competitors
Fun & powerful gay dating app
Jack’d is a fab dating app for homosexual and bisexual guys. It has a powerful geolocation feature that helps you browse nearby hotties and flag them for conversations. Jack’d also lets you share photos and videos privately. We love the chat phrases feature which gives you suggestions of what to say if you are having trouble breaking the ice. The app is also great for relationships as well as flings. All in all, Jack’d has the most diversity for gay guys out there.
- Sensitive towards queer people of color
- Geolocation & change location for more targeted or varied results
- Profile insights and stats
- Small dating pool
- Heavier on the hookup side than relationships
Up and coming fresh app for finding real love
Hinge calls itself the dating app that is meant to be deleted. That’s because it puts a heavy emphasis on serious relationships. The profiles are built on bold questions to quickly and effectively uncover personality quirks. This makes for amusing, entertaining, and shockingly accurate match-making results. Hinge will ask you things like what’s your political affiliation and how do you feel about legalizing weed. The app has plenty of gender diversity and identification, and it’s got a smart algorithm.
- Great for serious relationships
- Detailed profiles and questions, smart algorithm
- Lots of ways to interact
- Matches are limited on freemium
- Free filters are not great
Trendy social network app for all walks of life
Taimi claims that it is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ dating platform. It is a happy mashup of dating, chatting, and social networking. And it’s designed perfectly for today’s fast-paced, short-attention-span, social-media focused society. More than that, Taimi is geared towards a safe dating culture for the LGBTQ+ community with values that include diversity, inclusion, and never any discrimination.
- Strong core values of non-discrimination
- Cool user interface and sleek app
- Lots of great features, tips & community
- New, so still somewhat small
- Have to cancel after free trial
Breaking Down Our Top 10 Choices: Which Is Best For Your Needs?
HER - Best for femmes, loads of gender identities and sexualities
Grindr - Best for finding fun on the go
OKCupid - Best mainstream dating app for LGBTQ+
Hornet - Best for gay socializing
Scruff - Best for unapologetic flings & dick pics
Bumble - Best for networking
Scissr - Best for lesbian culture, community, & dating
Jack’d - Best for homo and bisexual dudes
Hinge - Best for serious relationships
Taimi - Best for trendy, social media-based dating
Shout outs to other great LGBTQ dating apps include Growlr (for the bears and those who love them), Thrust (for safe and fun ambiguity), Zoe (for lesbians with straight up profiles), and LGBTQutie (cause what a cute name!).
Reviewing the Top LGBTQ+ Dating Sites: Our Methodology
Top10.com LGBTQ+ dating sites reviews are based on objective facts. Our reviews are based on research via the Dating site, trusted 3rd party sites, customer reviews, and use of the product through free trials, or through paid use in some cases.
It is not always possible to use the product through its entire lifecycle. However, reviewers will try the signup process, make customer service queries to check response times and perform any other possible function within the review period. For the rest of the information, we rely on what the brand says about its own product offering, customer reviews, and complaints, ratings from independent agencies like the BBB, and trusted journalistic publications.
Some of the key features we compared when looking at the LGBTQ+ dating sites on our list were:
- Free version
- Number of members
- Recommended age
- Communication options
What You Need to Know Before Choosing a LGBTQ+ Dating Site
Dating in the LGBTQ+ world can be an enjoyable, fun, and even a successful experience. That is, if you know what you’re doing. Before you sign up and spend all that time creating a profile, here are a few things you should ask about the LGBTQ+ dating site you’re interested in:
Show me the money. How much is this going to cost? Is it a flat-rate subscription that covers everything? Or are there constant actions and additional fees you’re going to have to pay for?
What does this service do to protect its users? Are profiles screened? Conversations monitored? Abuse reports taken seriously?
What type of LGBTQ+ dating app is this? Does it cater to a specific niche or is anyone with an open mind and sexual preference welcome?
Once you know this info about the dating apps, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the same questions so you know what you’re looking for. What kind of a budget are you on? How strict are you about safety (how much do you care about fake profiles)? How narrowly do you want to filter down your dating options? Answer these questions, and you’ll have a much easier time finding the right LGBTQ+ dating site for you.
What Types of LGBTQ+ Dating Sites Are There?
When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, there are A LOT of options. I mean, c’mon, look at all those letters! And like everything else in our contemporary world, there’s an app for that. There are niche dating apps for just about every category you could come up with; lesbian dating apps, gay dating apps, bisexual dating apps, transgender dating apps, bears dating apps, yiffers dating apps, guys who like to date other guys when they’re wearing snow hats on Tuesdays dating apps (well, that one we might have made up, but you get the point).
Bottom line, there are a lot of niche dating apps out there. You can look for the most selective one out there to really tailor your dating experience. You are limiting your dating options to a much smaller pool in this way, though. Alternatively, you can opt for a broader dating app and see what swims your way. As with love and relationships, the choice is yours to make.
Additionally, there are dating apps for different intentions. This one is more important since you don’t want to end up on a date with someone who has wildly different plans for the evening. Awkward! The general categories include:
- Just friends
- Flings, affairs, and one-night-stands
- Committed relationship
- Marriage and beyond
Sometimes you can find an app that caters to all of these. In which case, you’ll need to specify your preferences on your profile page and/or when chatting with a potential date (more on this below).
Dating During COVID: How to Socialize While Social Distancing
Corona has affected every aspect of our lives, but it doesn’t have to kill your dating life. Here are a few tips from the experts on how to ride the COVID wave and still get your game on:
- Start with a virtual date
Why bother risking contamination if you don’t even know if you’re compatible? Chat on the dating app, have a video call date, and see if there’s something to talk about first.
- Check your safety
If you’re ready to meet IRL, check out local transmission rates where you’re planning on meeting and where they’re from. Also ask your date what kind of pandemic precautions they take (masks, distancing, sanitizing, etc.)
- Before you get intimate, ask a few pointed questions
If you are really into each other, ask a few important questions before jumping into bed with someone. Things like how did you spend last weekend, what do you do for work, and how are you feeling today, will tell you a lot of what you need to know.
And of course, get checked for COVID before getting in between the sheets.
How to Avoid Online Dating Scams
It’s a harsh world sometimes, and the online dating world can be the ugliest display of all, whether you’re gay, straight, or anything else. Take an unsuspecting individual, and selfish people will find a way to exploit them for whatever they can. Which is why it’s so important to protect yourself when dating online or via dating apps. There are two major concerns you want to be aware of:
- Financial scams
Many nefarious individuals will troll dating apps for gullible folks. When they find someone they can reel in, the crook will bait them, manipulate them, and play them until they’ve gotten what they want out of them. Then they’ll take everything they can, and leave the poor sap sad and in debt. To avoid personal identity theft and other financial scams, NEVER give out your financial information (bank details, credit card info, etc.) to anyone over a dating app. Also don’t send someone money or pay for things for them (even if their poor mother is dying of cancer and there’s no food in their little village). This is just a ruse they’re using to get money out of you.
- Sexual victimization
Another serious threat you need to be on the lookout for is sexual harassment or assault. Dating apps have long lists and articles about how to stay safe while dating online and in person. And it’s a good idea to become an expert in this field. Basic safety rules include always meeting in a public, well-lit place, not disclosing your personal information (phone number, address, workplace, regular routine), and letting a friend know when you are going out on your date.
You can also screen fake profiles by asking for more photos or a video chat.
Tips on LGBTQ+ Dating
Ready to dive into the dating pool? Check out some real-life pointers from the pros to help you navigate those choppy waters:
- Be clear about your intentions
The last thing you want is to get geared up for a sexy night of passion when the other person is just out for the coffee. Be clear about your intentions so there are no miscommunications or disappointments.
- Confront your own fears first
Living as an LGBTQ+er comes with loads of emotional baggage. Before you can open yourself up to a respectful relationship with someone, you need to be good with yourself. Confront those nasty comments, nagging fears, and ugly thoughts, tear off the band aid, and unmask the demons. You’ll be all the better for it afterwards, and then you can start sharing yourself with a love interest.
- Don’t be embarrassed about STD testing
We live in a world of open sexuality. Woohoo! And while embracing the pleasures and joys of multiplicitous sexual encounters, swapping out sexual partners leaves you susceptible to easily transmitted sexual diseases and infections. To avoid these uncomfortable (and that’s putting it mildly) situations, be clear and open about STD testing. Test yourself between partners, discuss if and how many other partners your date is sexually active with, and don’t be afraid to ask them to be tested before getting intimate either.
- Speaking of polyamory…
It is also a good idea to get out in the open your opinions and expectations about monogamy, polyamory, or any other form of intimacy. It would suck if you developed a relationship on the basis of monogamy only to find out that your partner is a two-spirit roller who embraces multiple sexual partners. BTW, it sucks just as much to find out the opposite.
How Much Does LGBTQ+ Dating Cost?
There are several LGBTQ+ dating apps that offer freemium accounts. These let you create an account and browse the network for potential matches. As with anything though, dating apps are a business. That means to get the good stuff you’ll have to pay for it.
There are two types of pricing structures you’ll find with most dating apps:
Subscription apps charge you a flat rate every month and give you access to the entire website, features, and actions. You pay once, and you get an all-access pass. Monthly subscriptions generally cost between $15-$50 per month depending on which one and you almost always get a discount for signing up for multiple months at once.
- Per action fees
Alternatively, some dating sites charge you a per action fee. Wanna chat? 5 credits. Wanna send a pic? 5 credits. Wanna send a gift? You got it. 5 credits. You’ll buy credits in a bundle and they’ll be subtracted from your account whenever you take an action. This pricing structure can quickly get expensive. So, watch your spending if this is the type of LGBTQ+ dating site you’ve signed up for.
LGBTQers Finding Friends, Flings, & Real Flames
Dating in the modern world is complicated enough without having to explain your gender identity or sexuality preferences. Which is why having dedicated dating apps for the various sexual orientations and gender identities is such a pleasure. Whether you’re looking to find a good friend who views the world from a similar perspective as you, want a playful night with a stranger nearby, or are searching for that special someone to spend the rest of your life with, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual, two-spirit, and other open-minded dating apps make the entire process smoother, easier, and a lot more enjoyable for everyone. Check it out, and see who you might find!