Hinge launches new feature to help queer users navigate dating

The new NFAQ feature on Hinge will answer LGBTQ+ users' questions about dating through some queer voices and experts.

Dating app Hinge launched a new feature to help queer folks navigate dating. In the photo, a young man sitting in a park looking down at his phone and smiling.
Image: Via Pexels - Keira Burton

Dating app Hinge has recently launched a new feature to help queer users overcome the barriers they may encounter when approaching dating and relationships. The new feature, called NFAQ (Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions), aims at providing answers and advice to LGBTQ+ people who might be encountering difficulties when looking for partners online.

The NFAQ feature debuted on Hinge on August 9 and it aims to foster open and honest conversations about safe dating for queer people. The app will feature prominent queer voices that will answer questions posed by LGBTQ+ daters on topics that they might find difficult to discuss with potential partners. As dating apps become one of the main channels through which people meet potential partners, learning how to stay safe while using dating apps is all the more important.

The idea for this new feature was prompted by new research conducted by Hinge that found that around four in five queer daters cannot find inclusive information when they access online dating apps, which represents an additional barrier for LGBTQ+ folks looking for a partner. The goal of the new feature is thus to create an open dialogue around the concerns that LGBTQ+ people have in meeting potential partners online and to offer some clarity on how to navigate dating.

In a press statement, Hinge love and connection expert and licensed marriage and family therapist Moe Ari Brown commented on the new feature saying: “For LGBTQIA+ people, our experiences are so unique that the typical answers to dating questions don’t meet our needs. NFAQ is a transformative resource that will support queer daters with creating and maintaining authentic relationships”.

Brown also added, “NFAQ is making the necessary space to not only answer LGBTQIA+ folks’ burning questions but to also cultivate an atmosphere of celebration and inclusivity on Hinge and beyond our app.”

So far, Hinge’s NFAQ contains eight questions answered by different experts, including Masami Hosono, hair stylist and founder of Vacancy Project; licensed therapist Shahem McLaurin; former magazine editor Phillip Picardi; actor and filmmaker Tara Raani; physician Dr Darien Sutton; and Mimi Zhu, author of Be Not Afraid of Love. The questions they currently have range from “How can I start dating if I’m not ready to come out?” to “How can I feel better affirmed in my gender in the early stages of dating?” and the app will continue to work on answering more of them in the coming months.

For example, to the question “How can I better affirm my gender in the early stages of dating?”, author Mimi Zhu replied: “I am transparent on the first date because the person’s reaction usually allows me to discern the trajectory of our connection”. Zhu then also explains that being true to yourself from the start allows you to pursue meaningful intimacy and avoid wasting time with someone who doesn’t respect who you really are.

Another of the main topics included in the NFAQ is substance use and how people can set safe and non-judgmental boundaries with other daters they might meet online. The answer related to this topic was provided by physician Darien Sutton, who said: “I think there’s just so much stigma related to the topic of substance use that people come to decisions before they actually get to know someone”.

“I just think it’s important to have a conversation, sit down, practice active listening, and get to know people,” he added, “You may decide that you don’t want to be in a relationship or intimate partner or close partner with that person, but you may gain a new friend.”

Sutton’s partner Phillip Picardi spoke about another central topic, aka how queer people can have conversations about religion and faith with prospective partners. “If I were to have sat across from Darien eight years ago and Darien would have told me that his faith was very important to him, I probably would have considered that a red flag,” he admitted.

Indeed, a new study conducted by Hinge found that 81 per cent of queer people who try online dating are uncertain about starting something with someone with different religious beliefs. Picardi suggests that initiating a conversation about faith and being willing to listen openly can help people find similar values and beliefs they might share with the other person.

The NFAQs feature is available both in Hinge’s Help Center and online and you can ask your own questions by using the ‘submit’ button on their in-app page.

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