I befriended a good number people, a few of whom I met in person, most of whom I only interacted with on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger, which is what everyone used before texting and Facebook chats).
At the time, about a year before I came out, it was thrilling to connect with people who were gay and bi (queer identity hadn’t become a big thing yet), around my age, and having similar experiences.
Especially in the world of M4M (male for male) online dating, racism and body privilege are constantly occurring on a massive scale. One is that online dating isn’t properly acknowledged. Another problem is that adults don’t teach young people how to engage with online dating like they teach them about what some refer to as traditional dating (i.e. Yet another problem is that young people today are thrown in the tank with the big fish.
Even after years of online dating, I feel super weird when I get propositions from people who are 20 and even 30 years older then me.
What I have been told in conversations on the topic is that it’s significantly less fucked up.
That said, there are issues across the board: most online dating platforms aren’t inclusive of variant or otherwise complex gender identities, and they tend to assist prejudice, objectification, and irresponsible sexual health practices.
Be Honest: Have a clear, recent picture of yourself, and provide your real age, etc.
Be specific about your desires, expectations, and boundaries. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you for information. Remember, there is a person just like you on the other side of the screen If They Won’t Stop, Block: If you’re receiving messages from someone after you’ve told them that you’re not interested, do not hesitate to block them from contacting you. Stand Up For Yourself: If you get a rude or otherwise inappropriate message from someone, let them know what they said is not okay.
Many online dating platforms have become impersonal, dehumanizing, and largely anonymous, especially on gay cis-men-focused platforms.
With online dating, the ambiguity (and risk) of cruising was minimized.
If you lived somewhere cruising wasn’t even an option, the Internet provided a way to connect with other queer people near and far.
Don’t pretend to be someone or something you aren’t.
The number one thing you can do to guarantee you won’t find romance is to lie about yourself.