As a queer Asian guy or person of colour, using dating apps can be especially intimidating and unfortunately, sometimes defeating. Online apps left a damaging impression on me. Repeatedly seeing online profiles with “preferences” for “no Asians”, “only hairy guys” or “Caucasians only”, made me feel like I was unattractive, undesirable, and ultimately unwanted. The further someone looked from a young light-skin masculine muscular Caucasian guy, the worse it could feel. The compounding oppressions of racism, fatphobia, femmephobia, ageism, and HIV stigma is heavily felt by queer guys of colour. Rejection is already hard enough on its own, but rejection based on race digs deep.
Regardless of all the differences we may have (race, body type, age, etc), I think most of us queer folks can relate to just wanting to be accepted, supported, and finally find a place we belong.
That discrimination we face is why we see spaces carved out for specific groups. In the past few years, there have been a burst of Facebook groups as queer off-shoots to the notorious Subtle Asian Traits. These groups include Subtle Queer Asian Dating (SQuAD+) and Subtle Queer Asian Traits (SQuAT), and Queer Asian Intersections (QuAInt). Then during the pandemic, folks also turned to Discord servers and Twitch as a way to find online community (platforms initially used for gaming).
Once we start meeting people online, it seems the next go-to place to meet other queers folks is at bars and dance clubs. Although historically popular for queer hangouts, the loud music makes these the worst places to have a decent conversation. We also tend to go to these venues when we already have groups of friends to go with. But if we don’t have any queer friends to begin with, who is brave enough to go alone and try to introduce themselves to strangers at a bar? To me, the practice is phasing out.
Ironically, the last places people tend to look are also probably the best places to meet people. That is LGBTQ community groups and sports leagues. It makes the most sense because most groups are built around common interests or similar cultures. That alone already puts you with people with who you’re more likely to get along with. Major components of community groups and sports leagues are the socializing of its members. There is practically a group for everyone.
Football, dodgeball, badminton? There’s a gay sport league for that.
Writing, dance, choir, or life drawing? There’s a variety of groups to stretch your creativity.
Settlers of Catan, Smash Bros, or Eucre? Whichever genre of games you play, there’s a group.
There are even specific groups for older adults, newcomers, or trans folks.
And of course whatever colour of your skin, there’s a supportive cultural group waiting for you!
It might feel lonely when you’ve never had your first relationship or haven’t found friends you click with yet, but it takes some time and effort. Keep your opportunities open by exploring all these options, and eventually, you’ll make at least one friend. Chances are you’re not the only lonely one.