Being LGBTQ in India can be difficult, and to meet LGBT friends online might be even more difficult. You may have to hide your identity for safety reasons or just not be ready to come out yet. Many societal barriers can make it hard to meet LGBT people in India. Even if you are out and proud, there are many other people that aren’t. So, it can be hard to meet LGBTQ friends online!
Whether you’re looking to make LGBTQ friends online, meet someone for a date, or looking for a long-term partner, finding other people like yourself is important. It can make be more comfortable about yourself. It is helpful to talk to more people who might be going through something similar. While there are many ways to make LGBTQ friends, there are a few that stick out.
So, let’s take a look at them and the pros and cons of each.
1. Dedicated apps to meet LGBTQ friends online
This is one of the most popular options for dating, or to meet LGBTQ friends online. There can be a risk of scammers or fake profiles like in other online spaces where queer people are looking to meet LGBTQ friends online. You might also be meeting someone dangerous or untrustworthy. However, if you’re careful and smart, those challenges can be quickly 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 LGBTQ people and things that you would be interested in. Additionally, if there are apps that offer proper verification like As You Are does to ensure the genuinely of the profile, you can feel safe. You share what you want with whom you want to, so you never have to risk your privacy and safety.
That aside, it does feel awkward if you are not looking to date and the other person is looking to date. One-on-one conversations can be weird, and there can be too much pressure on conversion or to keep up with the conversation.
But if one is looking to make LGBTQ friends online on online platforms that are not specifically designed for dating, like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, as well as online chat rooms, it might be quite risky. This option does have a lot of allure. It promises a good amount of anonymity online while you are trying to figure out how to make LGBTQ friends online.
You can share what you want to share, and you 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 and finding people you might want to be friends with is not a very effective way of finding good matches.
There are risks involved in this situation, as there are scammers that tend to exploit and rip off innocent people. There is a typical modus operandi followed by these scammers. It’s mostly young queer people who fall prey to these scammers. These people claim they are from another country, usually the UK, the US, or Canada, and you slowly fall in “love” with this scammer. He quickly gains your trust and returns your affection, sentiment for the sentiment.
You will start dreaming about your future with him. Then, he will come to India to meet you and take you with him to his country, or go on a vacation. The typical next step would be for him to claim that he was calling from the airport and that customs officers had arrested him. He asks for money because he has not told anyone about his trip. Begging you for the money, he says he has dealt with the customs officers and he just needs the money to get out of the situation. There are many people in the digital spaces looking to meet LGBTQ friends who have fallen prey to these scammers.
Looking for LGBTQ people on LGBTQ dating Apps designed with safety in mind and apps that understand the Indian LGBTQ people is important. Designed with these exact things in focus, As You Are is a great option when you are looking to make LGBTQ friends online in India. They offer ease, privacy, safety, and the option to meet other people like you.
2. LGBTQ Groups, Both Online and Offline
Young LGBTQ individuals are likely to suffer more anxiety and depression than the non-queer population, specifically the transgender and nonbinary population. They are even more vulnerable, suffering from more anxiety and depression. The fear associated with coming out and fear of discrimination is usually called depression, PTSD, and sometimes even suicidal thoughts.
A lot of NGOs and social groups start LGBTQ support groups, which are usually a type of peer-to-peer therapy space that is immensely helpful for meeting LGBTQ people in this community. It does need one to be courageous and seek help to be able to get it. There are online and offline LGBTQ support groups that offer space to address the issues faced by LGBTQ people and how these issues impact their day-to-day lives.
These support groups can be a great space to make LGBTQ friends online. However, this can only be possible if LGBTQ people are comfortable and feel safe enough to ask for the needed support. Joining an online group is a great way to meet like-minded LGBTQ people, and they are usually accommodating of a wide range of social, support, and networking groups for all ages and interests.
One of the greatest drawbacks when it comes to seeking support is the feeling that other people may not understand. This is one of the main reasons why most LGBTQ people still struggle in fear. It is the fear of being judged harshly by people that are important to them and society at large. Fortunately, online and offline LGBTQ support groups are available in different parts of the country, and these groups focus on helping members address the challenges they face.
Imagine the time you first found out that you were queer. It is easy to feel alone. This is especially true if you don’t see any representation that validates your identity or if you don’t know other LGBTQ people. This phase can be quite tough on your mental and physical health. It often leads to self-isolation and internalized phobias.
At this stage, joining a support group or an online platform dedicated to LGBTQ people is a good way to make online LGBTQ friends. At As You Are, we have “We Community” to cater to the large and diverse Indian LGBTQ people. Various topics of conversations, interests and location-based group chats that allow individuals to get into no pressure conversations and get to know each other better.
The community spaces allow for chats and topics with no pressure and potential awkwardness to engage one-on-one. Talking and meeting other people helps you realize that you are not alone on this queer journey.
This type of event also eliminates the superficiality and time commitment needed for online gay dating apps. Instead of spending hours texting before meeting up, you can spend 15 minutes just getting to know someone.
The biggest downside to this is that you don’t 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 LGBTQ people you match with.
Apart from online options, here are some other ways to make LGBT friends
3. 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 with those looking to meet LGBT friends. But in India, with incredible social stigma, not many gay bars exist. While struggling with how to make LGBTQ friends online or offline, this can pose a challenge. Luckily, straight bars are there to help.
Although there aren’t many gay bars, many of India’s straight bars have no problem holding queer events or queer nights. These are times specifically set aside for LGBT community members so they can meet LGBT friends. 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 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 that the person you are talking to is straight, leaving you feeling embarrassed. Even though there are downsides to meeting LGBTQ people in bars, bar culture has the benefit of being easy and quick, so it’s certainly appealing.
4. Offline events to meet LGBTQ friends
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 LGBTQ friends interested in dating, or possibly 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 thing, 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. These events are very structured and can also lead to situations that make you meet LGBTQ friends. This way, you don’t have to worry about what to do or whom 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 commitment needed for online gay dating apps. Instead of spending hours texting before meeting up, you can spend 15 minutes just getting to know someone. The biggest downside to this is that you don’t 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 LGBTQ people you match with.
5. Meet LGBTQ Friends at Parades and Parties
This is often a misunderstood way to meet LGBTQ friends online. 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, to meet LGBTQ friends is easy, but getting to know them isn’t. There are usually a lot of people at these gay parades, so you won’t get the chance to talk to people one-on-one. Although you can meet LGBTQ friends at gay parades, there’s not a lot of possibility for close interactions. This can mean that to meet LGBT 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 LGBTQ friends since there is no pressure for it to turn into a dating situation. If all you’re looking for is friends, this might be your best option. You can have a lot of fun at these gay parades and queer events without the pressure to date.
But the first step can be a hard one, especially if you intend to step into a pride parade or a party alone. Finding a friend who would come along can be less intimidating and places like As You Are We Community can help with finding that one first friend without necessarily outing yourself on the community platform online.
The platform offers access to LGBTQ conversations without needing to out yourself and no pressure to necessarily engage with all discussion. It can be the place to find that one friend whom you can step out for queer events.
The many ways you can help you make LGBTQ friends online or offline, as we listed, there are many obstacles in the online world, but whether you prefer to meet LGBTQ people in person or online, to develop a friendship, or looking to date them, there are options. You just need to make sure you think about things all the way through, 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.
There are many LGBTQ support groups out there. There are apps designed to bring together LGBTQ friends online, Facebook and other online platforms, parties and parades, offline events to meet LGBTQ friends, and bars. All of them have their pros and cons. Just stay safe and protect yourself while on the journey of meeting LGBTQ friends online.