By Adelaide Cromwell-Keenan
Australian gay women seem to have been left out in the world of online dating, as millennials turn more to dating apps more than ever.
Since it was released in 2012, the dating app Tinder has made over 20 billion matches world-wide and in doing so has created what is referred to as the ‘Tinder generation’.
With over 20 million matches daily, it should be easier than ever for users to date online.
The most popular apps focus their attention on heterosexual people and gay men.
Despite being able to set dating apps to change gender match preferences (and that includes Tinder gender identity features) the inclusivity of online dating has been criticised as being subpar.
According to Kit Sanders, online dating as a bisexual woman means facing fetishisation, biphobia and sexual harassment.
“Chances are, I’m going to meet straight women [and couples] looking to experiment, which isn’t what I’m looking for and can make me feel fetishised,” she said.
“I’ve tried using other websites such as Her, but I find its user interface difficult and doesn’t allow me to block other users.”
Sanders said dating websites need to better protect their queer users more by enabling stricter reporting settings to reduce harassment.
Student Bri Rudge even accuses Tinder of deleting her account after she included her bisexuality.
“I reached out to Tinder for an explanation, but never even received a reply from them,” said Rudge.
Dr Melissa Merchant, a media researcher at Murdoch University, said there had been a pattern in marginalised groups, such as gay women, where they repeatedly feel left out and excluded online.
“There’s been a lot of research into the effects of social media on marginalised groups,” said Dr Merchant.
“Whilst social media can foster inclusivity, it can also be isolating.”