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‘You Don’t Look Gay’ And 6 Other Things Queer People Are Sick Of Hearing On Dating Apps

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TinderEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #AllTypesAllSwipes, by Tinder and Youth Ki Awaaz to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week. Tinder now supports more ways to express gender identity by giving users the ability to add information about their gender outside the binary. Share your experiences of love, dating and authenticity here.

While the Supreme Court decided to read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code recently, giving equal status to consensual sex of all kinds between adults, there remains a long way to go in terms of getting rid of the stigma associated with the LGBTQ community. This stigma plays a pivotal role in developing popular notions about “LGBT people” and has shocking results. For example, a person might be confronted with surprisingly weird questions that can turn any situation really awkward. And like all other spheres of life, the online dating scene is not free from these preconceived notions. Several remarks are equally disrespectful and annoying for any member of the LGBTQ community, and we get them on a regular basis.

Given are the list of certain things that the LGBTQ people will want the users of online dating apps to know (and change!)

1: You Can’t Look Gay

But you don’t look gay!” is a comment that every conventionally masculine gay man or apparently feminine lesbian woman must have heard at least once in their lifetime. If you (a straight cisgender person) have come across a profile on a dating app of a person who “looks” straight but the term “gay” or “lesbian” in the description has broken your heart, you don’t have to prove how heteronormative you are by asking the same question in a personal chat. Rather, you need to understand that being lesbian or gay has nothing to do with the ‘look’ or behaviour of the person concerned.

2: “I Am A Woman And I Have A Penis” – Reece Lyons

Yes. You don’t need to hack off your penis or surgically construct one in order to be a woman or a man, respectively. Many trans men and trans women DO NOT go for sex-reassignment surgery for various reasons. It could be lack of funds, fear of surgery, or simply (and most importantly) their choice. And that must be respected! Many choose hormone replacement therapy only, and do not bother to undergo surgeries at all. There are numerous ways in which (and degrees to which) a person might choose to transition. And none of these ways makes a person less of a woman or a man because gender does not lie between your thighs. Genitals may be considered markers of your biological sex, not of the gender you identify as.

3: A Trans Man Can Date A Man

You heard me right. A person born with the female genitalia and identifying as a man need not necessarily be attracted towards women. The same goes for a trans woman. You might have come to terms, by now, with the idea of a person having sex with someone of the same gender. But a transgender woman dating a cisgender woman might still take you by surprise. But there’s actually nothing to be surprised about. Gender and sexuality are two different concepts, and independent of each other. Gender is who you are, and sexuality is whom you are sexually attracted to. The way a cisgender person need not follow the heteronormative framework of dating someone from the “opposite” gender, a transgender person can be gay too.

4: Asexual People Can Date Or Be In A Relationship

If you are not aware of what the “A” in “LGBTQIA+” (yes, it’s not just LGBT) stands for, listen up. It means “asexual”, and you need to know that asexuality is as natural and real as heterosexuality or homosexuality. Asexuality is the lack or absence of sexual attraction to persons of any gender, in general. But that doesn’t mean an asexual person may never feel aroused or never have sex in their lifetime. They may just not relate to sexual acts. It is not celibacy or abstinence from the act, but just another sexual orientation. It does not prevent an asexual person from being emotionally attached to another person (of any gender or orientation). So, don’t be surprised if you come across one on a dating site. It’s not like an alien playing cricket in Eden Gardens!

5: Bisexuals Are Not Bound To Prefer A Hetero Date

A friend of mine who is bisexual was asked by one of her cis-male admirers, “Why are you dating a woman and not me when I was the one who asked you out before?

Was it some kind of a joke? No, it wasn’t. Later my friend got to know that the guy could not come to terms with the idea that she, being bi, preferred a woman over a man. Well, maybe that’s how heteronormativity works. At the end of the day, a-man-and-a-woman-dating-each-other is what soothes the eyes of the crowd and anything which seems to deviate from this framework looks weird and unacceptable. Even if a bi person has never dated anyone belonging to the opposite gender, they don’t cease to be bi. Bi people can also choose to be in a monogamous relationship framework with either of the two popularly perceived genders (and others!). To cut it short, trying to fit any sexuality or gender in a conventional framework can be utter failure.

6: A Polyamorous Person Can Be In A Relationship With Just One Person

If you are polyamorous, it means you can or do relate to multiple persons at emotional and/or physical levels, and at the same time. But that’s not like signing a contract that you would have to have multiple partners at the same time. A polyamorous person may be in a long term relationship with one person and get involved with others sexually and emotionally; they can be in a relationship with multiple persons at a time; they can even be in a relationship with only one person and not date others. There could be ‘n’ number of possibilities. And in all these possibilities consent plays a very important role. Polyamorous people do have preferences, and are not sex toys, if that’s what you thought of them.

women working on computers at a workplace

7: There Is Something Known As Google

Of all the things that LGBTQ people want online dating app users to know, the most important is this. There is a search engine called Google which might not have the answers to all the nuances of life, this universe, and everything, but it does have everything that you need to know about us! Confused with the terms “cisgender”, “bigender”, “transgender”, “gender-fluid”, “non-binary”, “queer”, “asexual”, “pansexual”, “intersex” and all the others in the gender-sexuality spectrum? You just need to spend 15-20 minutes on the internet and there will be thousands of articles at your service. A little bit of research on your part will not only end the numerous misconceptions which society has burdened you with but will also spare the LGBTQ people from being misunderstood and offended.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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