In comparison to apps catering to all other queer people, there are more gay apps out there. Most apps that were previously generic now have a specialised space for gay dating. Here we shall talk about the 10 best gay apps that are being used in India, but interestingly, none of them were founded in India.
To create the list, our team at “As You Are” did a lot of research on the internet on the various dating apps. We also correlated the features these apps use with what the psychiatrists prioritise as needs for gay men – loneliness is one aspect that most of these men have to deal with due to a lack of space to meet the right partner. These best gay apps in and outside India help gay men to combat loneliness and feel one among many.
Gay Apps — a much needed space in the virtual world
With the world going through several restrictions due to the pandemic and constraints everywhere as far as outings are concerned, more and more people are seeking respite with friends and family online. In the same way that relationships are, for many, including the gay community, dating apps are the only and best way to meet new people on a romantic, social, or sexual level.
The popularity of these apps has been in high demand, mainly due to social taboos, and under the prevailing situation, the demand has increased to new heights. A Pew Research Centre Study has revealed the fact that around half of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in the USA use dating apps. When everyone is confined to their homes, it becomes easier to find and make friends there since most such gay apps are available.
Gay apps and sites give users ample data on a potential partner’s sexual identity. This aspect saves a person from the embarrassment that may occur if they tend to express interest in someone who may not share the same preference as they do. We do have gay bars, of course, but if you’ve ever been to one, you will know that they’re crowded with an indiscernible mix of gays and straights, and very few people actually looking to date. While this is to be expected in a social setting, the issue of looking for something long-term may still remain unresolved.
10 Best Gay Apps in India and outside in 2022
Here are the 10 best gay apps and sites that we recommend you download if you are looking to meet other men.
This app was created primarily for the cishet people. However, in 2019, Tinder was revamped into a more queer-friendly app. Tinder launched two new features, the first being “Orientation,” which allows users to select their sexual orientation. The creators acknowledge that it took them a long time to include LGBTQs and have tried to make up for this delay by announcing that the App will “continue to evolve and change, just like sexuality.”
A gay writer from the US writes on his personal blog about his own experience with Tinder, ‘But truthfully: it just wasn’t the best for making connections.” It takes a lot of patience and a lot of swiping to even get to the “let’s meet in person” phase, and then even from there, it’s still a stretch to form a real bond.
And Tinder is primarily concerned with a user’s appearance while also emphasising the hookup aspect of dating. This would obviously be a huge drawback for people who are looking to connect and make friends with other men in the gay community. At As You Are, we focus more on letting you get to know the person while also keeping in mind the need for safety and confidentiality.
Another app that gives space for gay dating. One online survey mentions that Grindr, a pioneer among dating apps for LGBTQs, is the most widely used gay app on the planet as of now; three–fourths of single gay men are on there. It has reached this level due to good networking while resources are still scarce. This gay app has been extremely forthright and is free, but a user has to pay if they want to use the premium features, Grindr XTRA or Grindr Unlimited — these two features allow a user to see unlimited men in their area (it supports geo-location) and thus get more specific with the filter searches with no ad interference.
With a large user base, Grindr is similar to Tinder in its approach to dating. There is a huge amount of focus on appearance, and a lot of conversations revolve around hooking up. Again, this gay app focus doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for people who want to just meet or get to know the person before meeting, or for someone looking for long-term dating in the gay community. We at AYA (As You Are) encourage users to focus on networking, conversations, and making way for gay men who are looking for more than hookups.
Jack’d is one of the most popular gay apps for bisexual and homosexual men. It offers a diverse and inclusive dating experience and offers more than just hookups. The design offers the choice of the “LTR” or “Strictly Friends” options too. Mainly catering to gay and bisexual men, the gay app is available globally and lets you browse profiles anonymously.
One user said, “I found Jack’d a whole lot better than other LGBT dating apps like Grindr. People are not looking for instant hookups and would like to have a connection first.” In 2019, there were app privacy complaints where user private photos became visible to the public, and there were complaints about technical glitches on the app too. It is a free-to-download gay app, and the premium service provides users with a more personalised experience in the results displayed. This gay app offers unlimited daily matches, advanced filtering services, anonymous profile viewing, and also offers ‘insight’ data on people you may like.
Launched in 2010, Scruff was one of the earliest to incorporate useful LGBTQ travel features) and is almost as popular as Grindr. The name comes from the fact that when it was initially launched, the aim was to have an alternative to Grindr, which is why they called out and appealed to the ‘scruffier types’. The intention was changed soon after, and now the gay app hosts more than 15 million users worldwide. About 31% of the users are gay people.
Similar to Grindr, Scruff uses geolocation to source profiles and is free to use. The gay app, however, charges extra for PRO membership. This feature allows users to check out queer events in their location, which is a great help for men wanting to meet and interact with other gay men in real life. In 2013, Scruff added a feature to update the user’s HIV-positive status, and it was also the first app to include options for members of the military and transgender community.
There is hope, but the downsides here are that most of the user base is from the US and since the results are based on geolocation, the app makes it mandatory to share your location, giving you less control. We at AYA (As You Are) are a home-grown gay app primarily catering to Indian communities. Apart from focusing on networking, we are also focused on meaningful conversations and making way for gay men looking to connect to other gay men in Indian queer spaces.
Growlr is similar to Scruff, but is a more niche version of Scruff. It is primarily aimed at “bears and huskier, harrier men,” as the name implies. This gay app uses geolocation technology to source potential mates for whatever type of connection you are seeking, as does Grindr and Scruff. Most users are from the US and does not have as many as Grindr or Scruff.
The gay app is free to use but has a lot of advertisements. Users have to upgrade to a PRO membership to remove advertisements and also get access to special features like viewing full-sized private pictures and videos, live video calls, and removing advertisements.
It is for a niche group of gay men, not necessarily for someone looking for a long-term relationship or not sure if it will have the space to accommodate conversations around “knowing the other person.”
6. Mr X
Earlier, this app was known as “Mister” and then it changed to Mr. X. The space is exclusively designed for gay men over the age of 30 and particularly marketed as “a social network for gay men to meet and chat”. The design and interface allows the user to find dates and also socialize at the same time.
This gay app is also available as a desktop version. The registration process is via Facebook verification and has a social-network-like interface to it, allowing you to chat and comment on other users’ photos and posts.
Adam4Adam is another of the oldest dating websites in the gay world. Launched in 2003, it still has an active user base and finds matches using basic geotagging. It is a perfect space to find hookups and to have a fun time. This American dating website is predominantly used in the US but is also available globally.
Earlier referred to as PlanetRomeo and GayRomeo, this site and app are both country-centric and their presence is huge in German-speaking countries. So if you are in Berlin or Munich, Zurich or Vienna, or northern Europe, especially among German-speakers, you will be happy with it. So basically, it’s a local gay app that can be utilised when you live (or travel) in the countries mentioned. They do publish an annual list of LGBTQ-friendly places around the world each year because they do collect (and share) a lot of data, but that’s kind of the end of its usefulness.
Unfortunately, the app feels slightly outdated, and even though they’ve got a corresponding website which you can also use — that’s even more outdated and difficult to use! In a lot of Europe, the app can be useful for getting travel tips or arranging dates and/or meetups, but there are a lot of language barriers as well.
Despite being around for a while, Hornet seems to be stuck in the past. It’s not gained much traction in the LGBTQ community outside of a few of its more popular regions in Asia and South America, so it would not be surprising if you have not heard of Hornet.
The design enables men to connect in more ways than just dating and hookups. The main user base on this American app is Caucasians, while Asians make up 28% of the global user base. The registration process is fast in this gay app because you can only register with your Google or Facebook account. There are a lot of complaints by users about the ads and spambots.
Although Hornet exists all over the world, it becomes a saving grace in countries where Grindr is banned or dangerous due to fake profiles being out to catch you and incriminate you (Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, etc ). For example, Hornet is the biggest gay app in Turkey, where you’re “safe” in Istanbul and Ankara but in danger everywhere else. The thing is that it’s also an app where people are being incredibly discreet due to the same dangers. It’s also not safe to use Hornet in some countries, like Indonesia, where it was banned in 2016, or the UAE.
Earlier, Squirt has long been proud of being an uncensored online hub, and later it converted into being a slightly-censored dating app, Squirt Mobile. The team behind the men-for-men site introduced a revamped mobile site, called Squirt Mobile. It is quite explicit and body-focused as compared to other existing apps, because, of course, there is a need for this too!
There are a considerable number of options to filter your results, clean-shaved or more wild-looking, you can also search for guys who have recently joined. The interface does let you get extremely specific, so you can find exactly the kind of guy you want. Most users on Squirt are interested in hookups, so this gay app is not the right place to look for long-term relationships. The gay app is free to use, but the free options are very limited.
This focus on looks would obviously be a huge drawback for people who are looking to connect and make friends with other people in the Indian gay community. At As You Are, we focus more on letting you get to know the person while also keeping in mind the need for safety and confidentiality.
Feel at Home with As You Are– Gay App Made in India
While most Indian gay and bisexual men have been visiting the Apps mentioned above, there is a piece of good news for all of you out there. There is a home-grown queer dating App — AYA (As You Are), because home is where the heart is. Launched in May 2020, it is an Indian App exclusively created to give safe space for the LGBTQ community.
This App’s tagline, ‘Find your person easily, safely, and discreetly’, clearly tells you the intention of the App and the main focus is to maintain confidentiality and safety. The manual verification of profiles employed by the app makes it safer than most other lesbian dating apps out there to ensure only genuine profiles are updated on the app. Another interesting feature it offers is matchmaking. So, once you share your details, including the kind of person you are looking for, AYA will even matchmake for you, taking guidance from a team of psychologists.
Go ahead, browse, and download the App from the play store. Here is your chance to find friends, chosen family, and partner (s), whatever it is you are looking for!
Happy visiting AYA (As You Are).