Being LGBTQ in India can be difficult. You may have to hide your identity for safety, or just not be ready to come out yet. There are many social and legal issues that can make this true.
Even if you are out and proud, many other people aren’t. So it can be hard to find other LGBTQ people!
Whether you’re looking for a friend, a date, or a long term partner, finding other people like yourself is important. It can make you feel more comfortable and give you more people to talk to. But it can also be a challenge.
While there are many ways of meeting people, there are a few that stick out. So let’s take a look at them, and the pros and cons of each.
1. Bars— gay or otherwise
Going out to bars is a method of meeting others used all over the world. It makes sense; people go out to drink, have fun, and usually meet other people. What’s not to like about it?
In many places in the world, gay bars are also heavily popular. But in India, with incredible social stigma, not many gay bars exist. This can pose a challenge for meeting other LGBTQ people. Luckily, straight bars are there to help.
Although there aren’t many gay bars, much of India’s straight bars have no problem holding queer events or queer nights. These are times designated specifically for LGBTQ people. So chances are, you can find a bar near you where you can meet people.
The benefits of this are that it’s easy and fun. You go out, you have a few drinks, and you chat with people. Bars are easily accessible, and you get to have a bit more privacy— you choose what you want to share and with whom.
One of the biggest cons is that not everyone is there for the same reason. You may start chatting someone up only to realize that they’re just hanging out with some friends. Or, worse, you may find out the person you are talking to is actually straight, leaving you feeling embarrassed.
Even though there are downsides, bar culture has the benefit of being easy quick, so it’s certainly appealing.
2. Offline mixers
If you don’t know what an offline mixer is, it’s pretty simple. It’s an event designed for singles to go and meet other singles. They can include parties, speed dating, icebreakers, and other events designed to help you meet other people interested in dating, or possibly in becoming friends.
These mixers are less common than bars, so they can be harder to find. It may also be difficult to find LGBTQ-specific mixers, but if you can, they have a lot of benefits.
For one, everyone there has the same goal in mind. You know that other people are looking for the same thing you are, so there’s no confusion or awkwardness.
It’s also a very structured event. This way, you don’t have to worry about what to do or who to talk to— you are guided through it, making it easier for you to be comfortable and be yourself.
This type of event also eliminates the superficiality and time devotion needed for online dating apps. Instead of spending hours texting before meeting up, you can spend 15 minutes just getting to know someone.
The biggest downside of this is that you don’t really have the option of anonymity. You have to be comfortable with sharing who you are in public, or you won’t be able to meet people you match with.
3. Parties and parades
This is often a misunderstood way of meeting other LGBTQ people. Many people think that you can just go to a parade, find a person you like, and score a date. Usually, it’s not that easy.
For one, gay parades and parties can face challenges in India. There may be counter-protestors hurling insults, people getting physically violent, or even police shutting them down. So they aren’t always the safest option.
Also, meeting people is easy, but getting to know them isn’t. There is usually a lot of people at these events, so you won’t really get the chance to talk to people one-on-one. Although you can meet a lot of people, there’s not a lot of possibility for close interactions.
This can mean that meeting people this way can be scary and impersonal. However, it does have its benefits.
For one, if you are looking to meet a lot of people and don’t care much if it’s super personal, this is a good place to do it.
It’s also a better place to make friends, since there is no pressure for it to turn into a dating situation. If all you’re looking for is friends, this actually might be your best option. You can have a lot of fun at these events without the pressure to date.
4. Facebook and other online platforms
For this, we are talking about online platforms not specifically designed for dating. This includes Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, as well as online chat rooms.
This option does have a lot of allure. It promises a good amount of anonymity— online, you can share what you want to share, and don’t have to share more. You also have the option to not share pictures of yourself, so you can keep your identity safe if you feel you need to do so.
However, this can be tedious. It may mean hours of texting with someone before finally meeting up for a date or hangout. Plus, scrolling through Facebook finding people you might want to be friends with is not a very effective way of finding good matches.
5. Dedicated LGBTQ apps
This is one of the most popular options for dating, and it doesn’t have many downsides. There can be a risk of scammers or fake profiles. You also might be meeting someone who is dangerous or untrustworthy. However, if you’re careful and smart, those challenges can quickly be overcome.
One of the best advantages of this option is that it’s specifically for LGBTQ dating. That makes it super easy for you to find other people like you, and that you would be interested in.
Additionally, you can feel safe. You share what you want with who you want to, so you never have to risk your privacy and safety.
This is why apps like Grindr and, of course, As You Are are important and great options for meeting other LGBTQ people in India, They offer ease, privacy, and safety, and the option to meet other people like you.
Whether you prefer in person or online, are looking for friends or dates, there are options for everyone when it comes to connecting with LGBTQ people. Just remember to stay safe, protect yourself, and do what makes you feel comfortable. That way, you can meet people and expand your life without putting yourself at risk.