Dating as a queer woman in India is a b*tch
Dating is tough, but dating as an openly-gay woman is my Everest.
Dating is a tough task. No really, it is! Whether you are a heterosexual cisgendered person or not, dating is something that requires a lot of work.
Be it finding someone who matches your frequency;
handling those nosy neighbourhood aunties; or even telling your mom about the
person you keep talking to on the phone--dating is a difficult job.
When I came out of the closet and decided that there was no going back for me, I really thought it'd be easy to find love and companionship. Sure, I wasn't going to be able to tell that straight girl in my class that I've had the biggest ever crush on her; but I was hopeful that I'd find more women like me.
Except, I was never a part of the queer circle in my city. Actually, I had no idea that such a circle even existed until I decided to try online dating. The first website that I signed up for, and let me tell you I have tried quite a handful of them, was OkCupid.
OkCupid is one the straightest dating forums you will ever
come across. Still, I hoped to find at least a few friends who fell on the
rainbow spectrum, if not love.
The world of online dating can be really tricky, especially
for a newly-out queer person. There are so many men, of course heterosexual,
who pretend to be a woman just so that they can catfish the newbies.
You see the problem with straddling the world of romance for
the first time--gay or otherwise--is the naiveté that comes along with it. Yes,
I was naive, so I often ended up talking to the men behind the fake profiles
only to have my heart broken.
Since clearly I wasn't having any luck online, I decided to wait for the Delhi Queer Pride Parade and the plethora of LGBT events that happen periodically in the city. I made a few friends there, but love still eluded me.
After what seems like ages, I met my now ex partner on OkCupid. Although that relationship didn't work out like I thought it would, it still gave me hope that all might not be lost when it comes to online dating.
Then I entered the age of Tinder. Even though I wasn't sold
on the idea of judging someone by their bio and a few pictures, I still gave it
a shot. After a lot swiping left and right--and being thoroughly confused about
the whole concept of swiping--I ended up talking to a few very nice women. They
were women for sure this time.
Oh, did I mention that I am socially awkward? It doesn't mix well with dating--in real life or online. So, my Tinder escapades never went beyond a few "Hi there" and "What's up" conversations.
The thing is my social awkwardness isn't the only hurdle between me and the cupid's arrow. It's also about how small the pool of potential partners is for me. Firstly, there aren't many openly gay women out there, and I'm definitely not ready to date someone who is closeted--I don't think I'd be able to handle that kind of a pressure or be someone's secret.
Secondly, most of the women who are out are either too young or too old. I'm not trying to say that it's absolutely a deal breaker or that age matters that much to me--after all it's just a number. But it's striking an emotional and intellectual chord that poses a challenge.
The third, and the most disconcerting problem is, how
utterly incestuous the circle appears to me. Imagine all the people you know,
including those you are interested in. Now, factor in the fact that each one of
them have either dated or has had some kind of a history with the others.
To be honest, I can't deal with that kind of baggage.
Even if you take away all these problems, and visualise an idyllic world where I end up meeting openly-gay women of my age and intellect, with absolutely no history with my friends or ex-partners--you can't ignore the homophobic society we live in. The thing is in a society that criminalizes love and sexuality, and where it's tough being a woman--let alone queer--finding love or even a date is a far cry.
Yet, I am hopeful. I am hopeful I will find someone. Or maybe, just muster up the courage to tell my crush how I feel about her! I have my fingers crossed.