Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Find Your Player 2: How Can I Meet Other LGBTQ+ People Online?

As LGBTQ+ people, our relationships and identities often don’t fit in the same mould as the ones we’re surrounded by, and seemingly “easy” questions can be deep and complicated. At the same time, sometimes you just need an impartial ear to ask: If neither of us are doing gender roles, why is nobody doing the dishes either?

Whether you’ve been out for years, are newly questioning, or just think Gayming Magazine is the best place for games – Find Your Player 2 is here for you!

This week we hopefully make a lockdown anniversary special, and look at some of the ways you can find the LGBTQ+ community online!

I’d like to meet more LGBTQ+ people, but I don’t live somewhere where there’s much of a scene, even when it is okay to go out. How do I make LGBTQ+ friends online and/or date them?

– Ser Friend Fancier (But in a Friendly Way)

I grew up in a tiny village and very on purpose moved to a city as soon as I could so: I know that feeling! Some of my closest friends are still very much people I met online through mutual online fandom, even at the time where I was living somewhere with access to whole real-life gay bars.

Obviously the LGBTQ+ community is, itself, a community, but I think the easiest way to find other LGBTQ+ people can be (paradoxically) within other communities. Particularly large hobbies, such as tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, often end up with vocally LGBTQ+ hubs. I’m in three separate LGBTQ+ D&D discord servers, the largest of which having over 500 members. While very large discord servers can be intimidating, often you can find any one channel has a much smaller number of regular users, where the conversation is easier to dip into to get to know people.

The nice thing about blending “LGBTQ+ communities” and “communities for the thing you like” is that you get to skip out the part where you don’t might not have anything in common with people besides the obvious – and you can enjoy That Thing You Like without fear of unexpected homophobic microaggressions. (Gayming Magazine has a discord server, cough.)

If you want to be integrated in more organised LGBTQ+ communities, there’s also sites like meetup.com. A lot of groups that would otherwise be meeting in person have moved to online-only for now, but it’s possible there’s a group or organisation only in the next town over! Even if you never meet up in person, there’s something grounded in being a member of a more local community, if that’s safe for you.

Lastly, it’s impossible to suggest meeting people online and not mention dating apps. Dating apps can be hit-or-miss, but even the popular ones are getting more inclusive. Bumble (plus its friends-only BFF feature) recently banned body shaming, colourist and transphobic language, and OKCupid has its famous “I don’t want to see or be seen by straight people” option. (If only that were a toggle in real life!) Between these and more niche apps, you’re sure to find something that works for you!

My boyfriend and I’s anniversary is coming up soon but we’re so far away thanks to lockdown. How can I make it special?

– A Very Stressed Significant Other

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary!

First off, while a video call is an obvious suggestion, it’s still something you can dedicate particular attention to. You can both ‘book’ that time away from other distractions, and dress up for a date night. If you’ve been in your lockdown comfies a lot (I definitely have), it’s a boost to feel dressed up fancy, whatever that means for you.

Even though you can’t be together in person, you can still physically connect in a way. A gift or card is something your boyfriend can receive on the day, and keep long afterwards.

With events like anniversaries, I advise you both check in that you’re on the same page about gift exchanges, whether you both want gifts and what ‘kind’. For instance, my girlfriend and I have our anniversary and Valentine’s very close together – so we exchange token gifts on Valentine’s (bears, chocolates, etc!) but celebrate in earnest a few weeks later. It doesn’t spoil the surprise, but it does prevent any embarrassing misunderstandings.

That covered, many local florists are doing contact-free delivery, or you can get letterbox-sized packages of baked goods. A neat thing about flower deliveries, in my experience, is that you usually get a specific delivery window. You could wrangle that one to line up with your video call too, if you wanted. Even a simple card or letter can be sweet and sentimental. (Look to independent sellers like etsy for more gay, less naff cards than you would find in your newsagent!)

Of course with a celebration it’s nice to have a thing to do, and this is where I’d recommend hopping into a co-op or creative sandbox game! Teaming up and killing things has its place, but I just can’t not recommend farming Stardew Valley plots together (in the shape of hearts), carving out Minecraft lava pools (in the shape of hearts), or just Unravel 2’s whole deal (your eyes will be shaped like hearts). These kinds of games are the perfect combination of working together and having the opportunity for impromptu sweet gestures.

However you spend your anniversary, I hope it’s a lovely one and I wish you many more!

Find Your Player 2 is Gayming Magazine’s fortnightly love and relationship advice column! Send your questions to advicecolumn@gaymingmag.com.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Ruth Cassidy

Ruth Cassidy is a writer and self-described velcro cyborg who can often be found being emotional over musicals, mountains, and pictures of cats on the internet.