Feelings, friends, dating, and drama: we need it and love it all. As we have embraced the technological revolution of our generation, apps are now not only an acceptable way to meet people, but in many circles, it’s the preferred way. Just ask Chappy.
Chappy, the gay social connection app for men, just released findings from the first study of its kind: State of Gay Dating and Friendship. In partnership with 4media Group, the 2019 survey examined the social dynamics that men seeking connection with other men encounter within the United States.
Through the study, Chappy discovered that almost 95 percent of respondents said that dating apps and sites have become an important way to meet like-minded people, while only about half believed that apps make it easier for love.
“Coming out can be one of the most courageous acts an LGBT person can make,” said Sam Dumas, Chappy’s co-founder. “I’ve heard countless stories from my colleagues and friends who have used dating apps as their first step into the gay dating space. For some, it may even be their first direct experience with the gay community.”
The process of coming out is not only one that is declared to the world, but one that is deeply reflected on for a long period of time for each individual. Once that process is complete, to a varying degree for each person, taking the chance of rejection in the dating world can be a risk a lot of people aren’t ready to take.
While two-thirds of those surveyed stated that the rise of technology has made it easier for them to connect to like-minded men, almost half of them dislike that online interactions are often ruder than interactions they have in real life.
Recently, GQ revealed that a lot of male-identifying folks face dating discrimination through apps for one main reason: presenting too femme. The misogynistic culture in the men who date men community is deeply embedded yet dismissed as “preference” rather than stemming from a place of shame.
“Sometimes I would just get a random message calling me a f*ggot or sissy, or the person would tell me they’d find me attractive if my nails weren’t painted or I didn’t have makeup on,” Ross, a 23-year-old from Glasgow, told the magazine. “I’ve also received even more abusive messages telling me I’m ‘an embarrassment of a man’ and ‘a freak’ and things like that.”
Additionally, the survey determined that 90 percent are looking for a relationship, whether it is a committed or open relationship and more than half of the respondents are wanting a monogamous relationship. Almost 75 percent agreed that social media platforms have helped them build new friendships, and threes in 10 felt that they find the greatest amount of emotional support from their LGBTQ friends and chosen family, rather than their biological family.
Chappy said that this kind of data collecting, like the inaugural survey, is crucial as we understand the dynamics of gay relationships are so intrinsically different from heterosexual dating relationships and friendships. Chappy was founded as a social connection app on a mission to end the stereotyping of gay men and Dumas said that gay dating apps as a whole need to do better.
“It provides us with insights into what it means to be a man seeking connection with another man in today’s day and age. As a community, we’ve made so much progress in the 31 years since National Coming Out Day was founded, but we still have so much more work to do,” said Dumas.
Chappy plans on conducting similar studies on an annual basis to chart trends in the ever-changing dynamics that affect the lives of gay, bi-sexual, and queer men. For this survey, 93 percent of participants identified as gay men, 6 percent were nonbinary, and 1 percent were undisclosed.
As companies and organizations commit time and resources to acquiring data, tracking trends, and gathering insight on the topics of gay dating and friendship, we continue to see the social implications that individuals absorb which in turn effect body image and overall self-esteem.
Whether it’s monogamy, open relationships, just dating, or just friends, the LGBTQ experiences continues to shift and change as acceptance and openness become not only a safer experience, but an expectation.