Your guide to dating apps tailored to LGBTQIA+ people in Ireland
Whether you’re seeking out a traditional monogamous relationship, exploring alternative relationship models, or simply looking for a safe space to navigate online dating, it’s worth considering the dating app options for LGBTQIA+ people beyond Tinder and Hinge. We take a look at some of the key features of the established and emerging dating apps for queer people in Ireland.
The days where Tinder and Grindr were your only options for dating apps are long gone. While they certainly still play a central role in the online dating scene, there are many other options on the market right now, all suited to different types of users and their interests. Lots of these apps have been built in response to the perceived shortcomings of the leaders in the space. The newcomers promise alternative experiences whether that’s in the form of encouraging fewer casual hook-ups, or facilitating even more casual hook-ups.
For those who are completely new to online dating, or those re-entering the dating scene after a long-term relationship, the options might seem intimidating at first glance. Below, we’ll explore some of the most popular dating app options in Ireland at present, and the incorporation of new features that address shifting attitudes to polyamory, ethical non-monogamy and open relationships.
Before we move on, it’s worth noting that mainstream dating apps do draw out significant numbers of queer users, and are often a safe bet if you’re looking for a large dating pool. We have an extensive overview of the more mainstream dating apps (Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Hinge etc) here. That piece runs through the basic functionality and features in the context of heterosexual users, but we’ll round this article off with some useful pointers for LGBTQIA+ readers venturing onto Tinder and Hinge for the first time.
Grindr is a staple of the dating app landscape, which most people will already know about by now. It initially carved out a significant space for itself as one of the first geospatial-based dating apps for gay men, though it has since evolved its positioning to become a “social networking app” for gay, bi, trans and queer people, with a particular focus on men and gender non-conforming users.
For those who find themselves allergic to the casual nature of apps like Tinder, it might lead to disappointment, as it’s even more geared towards casual hook-ups. Grindr caters mainly to people who want to meet in person quickly, rather than those who want to text back and forth for weeks before arranging a date.
Key features: Grindr is far more focused on geolocation than any other dating app available, designed to help users find hook-ups or dates nearby, sharing location data within 100 metres of accuracy. Consequently, all users can message one another without having to ‘match’. The location-based features make it useful for people who travel often and want to meet new people quickly when abroad or visiting another city. Unlike the swiping and liking features seen on other dating apps, Grindr presents users with a grid showing the profiles of its users. It enables users to chat and share photos, messages and videos. In recent years, Grindr has added features for couples to set up and share a profile, enabling users to incorporate non-monogamy and open relationships into their online dating lives.
Who’s it best for? It’s advertised for gay, bi, trans and queer people, but most would agree that gay men have the optimum experience on Grindr.
Pricing: Grindr XTRA costs $19.99 per month, while Grindr Unlimited costs $39.99 per month. These premium tiers remove ads, allow users to view more profiles and chat with users globally. With an Unlimited plan, users can unsend messages, browse incognito, access unlimited profiles, and see who viewed their profiles.
Taimi’s primary focus is LGBTQIA+ users. While successful mainstream apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble were all seemingly designed with heterosexual cisgender people in mind, Taimi has been queer-oriented from launch. It has a smaller user base but within this community, there appears to be more representation for gender non-conforming people and openly asexual users.
Overall the app feels more ‘queer’ than Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble, based on the users it has attracted and how they interact with one another. Users seem notably more introverted than on mainstream dating apps, and people tend to have nerdier interests (which will be a big bonus for some users) rather than the standard interests on Tinder and Hinge which revolve around partying or outdoorsiness.
Key features: The app has a strong focus on protecting user privacy, and it does not allow users to take screenshots of anybody else’s profile, or upload profile pictures that have been screenshotted as a safety measure to deal with fake profiles on the platform.
Who’s it best for? Taimi positions itself as an inclusive space for queer people, and its users are comfortable disclosing neurodivergence and disabilities on their profiles, which is something you don’t see on a lot of mainstream dating apps. For this reason, Taimi might be better suited to people who are looking for a safe space to express themselves and explore their sexuality without exposing themselves to a large user base. Of the dating apps highlighted in this piece, Taimi seems to have the highest proportion of openly asexual users, making it a good option for those seeking non-sexual romantic connections.
Pricing: Taimi has three premium tiers: bronze, silver and gold, ranging in price from €5.99 to €11.99. Premium features include the ability to see who visited or liked your profile, access to ‘rainbow likes’ and ‘rollbacks’ where you can return to users you may previously have swiped past.
Feeld is one of the newer (and trendier) dating apps available at the moment, with a slightly different take on things. Featured in publications like Vogue, Elle and Fast Company, Feeld is prompting many mainstream discussions about kinks, non-monogamy and alternative relationship models. Feeld is designed to connect people who have a common interest in exploring their sexuality through kinks, swinging, casual sex and open relationships, by normalising all of these things and eliminating the stigma often associated with exploring non-traditional romantic interests.
Key features: At first glance, Feeld has a familiar interface. There’s a feed of users that can be liked (or sent packing, if you’re not interested), an inbox function for messaging, and the usual profile-building features.
What makes Feeld stand out is that there are two sections on the profile that users can fill out related to ‘desires’ and ‘interests’. In this context, ‘desires’ represents what users are seeking sexually or romantically, while ‘interests’ refers to their hobbies outside of the bedroom. It encourages users to openly select and publicly share kinks with others on the platform, which may not be something that every user is comfortable doing.
Like Grindr, Feeld has incorporated features that enable couples to link their individual profiles, making it easier to facilitate non-monogamous interactions.
Who’s it best for? Couples (30% of Feeld’s user base are in a relationship), LGBTQIA+ people exploring their interests and sexuality, and women interested in more casual interactions than those expected on traditional dating apps.
Pricing: Feeld’s Majestic membership tier enables users to hide themselves from Facebook friends, while also giving users access to a ‘private photos’ feature. It also allows users to like more than 40 people per day. Currently, this premium membership costs around €25 per month.
Tips for the ‘mainstream’ apps
While the most popular dating apps certainly draw larger pools of people to choose from, they aren’t tailored to the unique needs or dating habits of LGBTQIA+ people. Consequently, there are quite a few drawbacks, particularly for gender non-conforming users and those who are interested in more than monogamy. With Hinge, for example, non-binary people won’t be presented with men on their feed unless they choose a binary gender identity, as very few men on the platform check the ‘non-binary’ box when creating their profiles.
Tinder, Hinge and Bumble are yet to implement any meaningful features for couples engaging in any form of ethical non-monogamy. This often means that lesbian users are plagued by irrelevant profiles run by heterosexual couples looking for a third (which is a notable issue on Tinder, specifically). In contrast, Grindr, Taimi and Feeld have all introduced features for couples to ensure that they are getting in front of the most relevant audience possible without disrupting the experience of users seeking other singles.