In comparison to apps catering to all other queer people, there are more gay dating apps out there. Most apps that were previously generic now have a specialised space for gay dating. Here we shall talk about the 11 best gay dating apps that are being used in India, but interestingly, none of them was founded in India.
How We Chose the List of 11 Best Gay Dating Apps in India
To create the list, our team at “As You Are” did a lot of research on the internet on different gay 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 dating apps in and outside India help gay men to combat loneliness and feel one among many.
Gay Dating 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 apps are available.
Gay dating 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.
11 Best Gay Dating Apps in India and outside in 2023
Here is a list of the 11 best gay dating sites and apps, which you can consider if you are looking for an LGBTQ app –
1. As You Are (AYA)
Of course, AYA had to top the list of gay men dating sites in India, for good reason. For one, “AYA” is India’s sole locally developed dating app for the LGBTQ+ community. The aim of the app is to revolutionize the dating experience for members of the queer community by providing a stress-free environment. It was introduced in June 2020.
For those who are new to using dating apps, AYA provides a welcoming starting point. It realizes that there is more to an individual than their profile picture and that the person you seek to date isn’t simply an image you met online. AYA is a low-stress application and does not require you to connect to Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platforms that could potentially out you. The app acknowledges that you may not be ready to come out yet publicly, and taking your time is perfectly acceptable.
What’s more, the app is easy to use and focuses on user safety online. AYA is tailored to meet the needs and sensitivities of its users. Users have full control over the information they share and their preferences. The design and approach prioritize the user’s profile over their photo, allowing users to maintain their anonymity when making connections.
The registration process only requires basic information such as gender, orientation, email address, phone number, and a selfie, which the back-end team uses for manual verification of the account. Upon verification, each user is given a referral code for the app’s free version. You can subscribe to AYA for free here.
This app was created primarily for 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.
Another app that gives space for gay dating. One online survey mentions that Grindr, a pioneer among dating apps for LGBTQs, as one of the best gay dating apps 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 dating 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 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, and conversations and making way for gay men looking for more than hookups.
Jack’d is one of the most popular dating apps for gay 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. As one of the best gay dating apps, it is a free-to-download app, and the premium service provides users with a more personalised experience in the results displayed. It 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 matchmaking 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. Growlr is a gay dating app primarily aimed at “bears and huskier, harrier men,” as the name implies. This 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 do 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.”
7. 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 is particularly marketed as “a social network for gay men to meet and chat”. The design and interface allow 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 and best gay dating apps. 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 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 one of the biggest gay men dating sites 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 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 Dating 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 matchmaking 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).