With a recent survey noting that 50 per cent of the LGBTQI community uses online platforms to find partners, city-based youngsters speak to us on how social media is giving them freedom to express themselves.
According to a recent study by online dating platform, Tinder, nearly 50 per cent of the LGBTQI adults admitted to finding love in a digital place — be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other dating apps like Grindr, etc. A few members of the community tell us how digital platforms have been allowing them a chance to voice themselves prejudice-free.
Transgender rights activist Kalki Subramaniam says that internet has been giving the space for freedom to several LGBTQI adults to be open about their identities, which they may not be able to do in the real world fearing judgment. “There are not enough venues or clubs meant for the LGBTQI community in our country. Even though Section 377 has been decriminalised, it is still difficult for the community to socialise. Internet has been giving that freedom, which they can’t always find in the offline world. However, trusting someone online comes with its own perils as there are several homophobes and transphobes behind the personalities online. While the digital apps have been helping those in the urban settings find companions, those in rural parts and aren’t internet-savvy continue to struggle to establish connections,” Kalki tells DT Next.
City-based student Jabez Kelly points to the need to have more inclusive platforms so that LGBTQI adults can also find a way to socialise. “Social media and apps can help the community a great deal in meeting people. Unlike the West, we don’t have any spaces meant for people of the community to meet up, which makes it harder for us. On the other hand, a person’s height, weight or physical appearance hardly mattered on the digital platforms — making it a safe place to get to know someone, as long as they are used the right way,” Jabez says.
Online platforms are being credited not just for helping in finding love, but also in letting several LGBTQI adults to come out, according to the Tinder survey. Of the 61 per cent of those who said they formally came out, 37 per cent proclaimed their identity via social media, the study notes. Twenty-six-year-old model Vishal Ranjan says digital mediums have been making people safe enough to come out of the closet.
“There are many who feel comfortable revealing their sexual identities online and not offline, because homosexuality continues to remain a taboo. It is only natural that people are looking to connect with the community and possibly find a partner online itself because virtual spaces are allowing people to be themselves fearlessly,” he adds.