Refresh Your Feed: Best Ways to Find Someone on Grindr

You’re winding down after a long day, so you open up Grindr to see who’s around. And you see the same people who were around yesterday — and the day before. Because your apartment is in the same location it’s always been. And unless the apartment next door suddenly gets a new occupant on the first of the month, chances are everyone around you is still in the same place they were yesterday and the day before.

Seeing the same people on your feed day after day can get exhausting and boring. It’s what makes you close the app and not check it again until the next time you find yourself drunk and horny.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things you can do to refresh your feed and find a whole new crop of guys — or see the ones you encounter on your feed every day in an entirely different light. So instead of giving up on Grindr just because the blonde down the street is still looking for “fun 24/7,” just not with you, try some of these tips on for size.

  • Move — Not literally. You don’t have to give your 30-day notice or put your condo on the market. But try checking Grindr when you aren’t at home. Do it at work (on your break — not when you’re talking to Amy from accounting in the kitchen). At the coffee shop. On vacation. Heck, grab a book, hop in the car, go to a new neighborhood, open your app, and watch the messages pour in. Just like you’re ecstatic when a new guy shows up on your feed, they will be too. So go somewhere new and remember how it feels to be fresh meat again.
  • Try the “Fresh Faces” feature — That scroll bar at the top of your app? That’s new. It’s a feature Grindr added because (shock) people like seeing fresh faces on their feed. So be the “Welcome Wagon” for those that are new to the app. Strike up a convo, share some pics, and find out what they’re looking for. Make that your first stop before you dive into the sea of regulars.
  • Change your profile pic — This may seem like an odd suggestion, but just like you’re sick of seeing the same faces, they’re sick of seeing yours. So give them a new option. One pic is not a lot to go off of, and when you switch up your look (trade “beach bum” for “dressy” or “sporty” for “laid back”), you get a whole new crop of people hitting you up. And they’ll share more pics. And who knows? The guy down the street you’ve been ignoring for months might actually turn out to be just your type.
  • Adjust what you’re looking for — You shouldn’t have to abandon your sense of self to chat with a new crop of people. But if “only looking for fun” isn’t turning up many results, loosen up. “Friends and fun” or “open to suggestions” might seem less intense. “Serious about dating and conversation” doesn’t need to be so “serious.” “Chat, friends, dates and more” is a lot more open to interpretation. Add an Instagram link, and maybe some fun facts to make the whole thing a bit more relaxed. Meeting men online should be fun, not a full-time job.
  • Adjust who you’re talking to — Some of the best convos I’ve ever had online have been with people I might not typically chat with because our interests differ or they aren’t my “type.” But step outside of your comfort zone and hit a couple of guys with a “sup” or a “how you doing?” Then follow it with something with a bit more substance. You never know what the guy you’re chatting with is looking for at that moment, and you just might connect with someone you’ve overlooked in the past.

Body Image Issues: When Screaming, “I’m Beautiful” In A Speedo Isn’t Enough

I’m waiting to meet a queer man who has zero body image issues. A guy who 100% loves his body from head to toe, and embraces all his physical flaws and limitations. He’s completely fine with the fact that he will never have a six pack, an ass that rivals Kim Kardashian’s, a jawline like Liam Hemsworth, or cheekbones like Benedict Cumberbatch.

I’m waiting to speak to a gay man who read a piece online about learning to love his body, and then suddenly, he did. He wore a Speedo to the beach, embraced his love handles, and as if by magic, realized his flaws don’t make him less attractive, they make him… him. Leaving him no choice but to embrace them!

Now I’m all for the body positivity movement, but I don’t think vague, feel-good axioms are enough to help queer men struggling with body image issues. Screaming, “I’m beautiful and worthy of love” from the highest rooftop isn’t going to change diddly-squat.

We’re simply too embedded in the gay beauty culture. A culture that idolizes a certain bodily aesthetic: white, masculine, muscles, and so on. It teaches us that our value as a person (or at least a lot of it) is derived from how we look. This means we aren’t deserving of love or a healthy relationship if we don’t present a certain way. Or conversely, some of us think we are worthy of love, but will never find it, since we’re competing against men who look like Greek gods.

And while that may sound ridiculous, it does seem like a number of gay men actually have obtained the perfect body. I was in Provincetown last summer at a pool party on the 4th of July, and I was in pretty decent shape. But honestly, I was one of the handful of men there who didn’t have a six pack. I was in shock.

I was also recently visiting my family in LA. All it took was going out to one gay club in West Hollywood to make me feel terrible about my body. Even in Boston, where I live now, I go out and see, in abundance, men who look like Adonis.

So these men really do exist, and it seems like they’re all over the damn place. What’s more, they’re getting a lot more attention and love prospects than the rest of us (or so it seems).

This is why someone preaching, “You need to learn to love your body,” isn’t going to transform that person into someone who actually does.

That’s not to say we should give up and become a slave to the gym, beauty products, and our physical insecurities. I simply think it means we need to change how we approach our relationship with our body.

Here’s what I’ve done regarding my body image issues.

I’ve embraced that I have them, and no longer feel an ounce of remorse. I’ve realized that I’m not one of those queer men who’s going to learn to love his body fully. There will be days, lots of them, where I pinch my body fat and find myself gross. There will be days I get anxious because I can’t make it to the gym, and will immediately spiral into a negative feedback loop of, “I’m going to lose muscle, get fat, and nobody will love me.” There will be days where I stand in front of the mirror and point out every single thing I hate about my body.

And that’s okay.

Ironically, in embracing my insecurities, I’ve at least been able to get over the judgment and resentment I harbor towards myself for acting “shallowly” or obsessing over something minuscule. I no longer think something is wrong with me for not being able to embrace my body. I’ve simply acknowledged that I drank a little too much of the gay Kool-Aid. Because of this, I’m never going to have the healthiest relationship with my body.

Is this ideal? Absolutely not. But is it okay? Yes, it is. And at this point in my life, I can’t hope for a complete transformation in how I view my body, but I will gleefully take this form of harm reduction. Any bit helps.

With that said, I’m off. I need to make a protein shake and head to the gym.

Do You Hit the Gym Just to Get a Man?

Spring is both the start of warmer weather and the end of my gym freedom. Nearly every machine is packed with seasonal Sams looking to gain new muscle before the summer. Now dudes are scrambling to lift as many kettlebells as they can while filling their Instagram feeds with sweaty selfies. Meanwhile, I’m stuck on the only working piece of equipment––a run-down elliptical next to a wheezing woman.

One evening, as I waited patiently for a cable machine behind two dudes in Lululemon, I heard one of them pant, “once I get a man, I’m done with this crap!” Suddenly, I was reminded of my friend from college who said those exact words. Since my friend hated the gym, he vowed never to lift another weight once he nabbed a guy. He felt that only his prime figure would land him in a relationship. Now, I’m left wondering how many guys hit the gym just to get a boyfriend.

It’s easy to feel that gay culture is body-obsessed. Our magazines, social media, and advertisements are filled with beefy chests and chiseled abs. Online, it seems like every few minutes I’m flashed a pair of man nipples. It’s no wonder a fit guy might feel more comfortable posting a pic of his torso rather than a shot of his face. Heck, I’ve even contributed to the sea of shirtless selfies. Perhaps, because of this media, the idea of having a gym-made body feels like the easiest way to grab a guy’s attention.

Once a boyfriend is obtained, does the gym matter? Your lover has likely seen you naked, and you’ve smacked each other around in bed a few times, so why grow those biceps? While many couples keep the gym in their routine, others might trade barbells for forks. I asked a few of my coupled friends, and they say that since they met, their gym consumption has gone down and their dining out has increased. Was that the goal all along?

Personally, I love everything from fine dining to In-N-Out––but I also love feeling fit. The two can go together, but it’s a lot of work. If I stopped hitting the gym, would my commitment to fitness suddenly feel like a lie? My boyfriend doesn’t mind whether I pack on the muscle or not. Yet, I am left wondering if he’d truly be okay if I stopped lifting and started lounging. He’d likely still find me attractive, but he might miss the way I used to look.

Then again, isn’t change our destiny? Relationships that last adapt to morphing bodies––thickness, wrinkles, and everything else. Our younger selves are usually fitter than our aged counterparts whether we lift weights or not. In other words, we aren’t always going to look the same. If change is the clear trend, shouldn’t we just expect it? Or are we buying into something that was never meant to last?

5 Ways to Zap Zits

Typical morning: You wake up and have the birds and squirrels help you get dressed. You start to hum a beautiful tune on your way to the mirror-mirror on the wall and then BAM! A pimple or 13. WTF? How did it get here?

First off, you are not @drpimplepopper, DO NOT POP IT. Do not touch it. Popping a zit can push the bacteria further into the skin or cause an infection. If the blemish gets infected it could cause scarring, and that problem lasts a lot longer than if you just left the zit alone. Here are some at-home and over-the-beauty-counter solutions to help aid you in a speedy pimple recovery.

Over-the-Counter

Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9

Tatiana isn’t the only queen who believes in “choices,” I don’t know who Paula is, but she’s got them too. The main ingredient in this wonder potion is BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acid), and that is another term for salicylic acid. The controlled and sustained salicylic acid in Resist BHA 9 helps to unclog the pores while the plant extracts help to soothe. You can use this on a single blemish, or over larger areas to help clean out and maintain problem areas.

Malin and Goetz Acne Treating Nighttime

The pimple-fighting ingredients in this magical concoction combine salicylic acid with 10% active sulfur to help dry out the imperfection. The organic camphor will aid in healing while the zinc will help prevent scarring. Do not shake, just dip a cotton swab straight down, pull out (that’s what he said), apply, and leave on overnight.

Home Remedies

More of a Frankie, less of a Grace, inspired spot mask.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Here is yet another amazing use for apple cider vinegar. Make a solution that is ¼ apple cider vinegar and ¾ water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and then dab it on the spot, let it dry, and then rinse. Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties making it a perfect pimple fighting machine.

Mariah’s two favorite things, other than butterflies and champagne, inspired spot mask.

Aspirin and Honey

Take one plain white crushed aspirin and mix it with a pencil eraser sized amount of honey! The aspirin is anti-inflammatory, and it also contains the number one acne fighting ingredient, salicylic acid. The honey’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties help to heal, so the combination of both is an amazing DIY mask that won’t break the bank. Advice: Do not do this if you are allergic to aspirin.

Butch Queen, first pimple at the ball inspired spot mask.

Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera

Take one teaspoon of aloe vera gel and three drops of tea tree oil, and mix well. Apply with a cotton swab. The potent antifungal and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil help to kill the blemish bacteria.

Why I Use Grindr to Make Friends

I live in a high-rise filled with people that I rarely engage with. Sometimes we’ll chat in the elevator about the weather while our dogs gingerly sniff each other’s genitals until the doors open and we go our separate ways. In the city, where I’m constantly surrounded by people, I frequently find myself in these situations. It can feel strange to chat with neighbors––as though I’m already invading their privacy by coincidentally sharing a wall.

In recent years, my friend circle has dwindled because many have moved, become parents, or consumed by their career. So, I started searching. The bars in the city are far more crowded than the streets––and often just as isolating without a group. I don’t know many guys who date from the bar scene anymore, let alone find good friends there. Since meeting people in the city doesn’t come easy, I downloaded Grindr on my phone. At first, I was reluctant. I’d never heard of guys using it only to make friends, but I thought I would give it a shot anyway. My profile specifically states that “I’m just looking for friends,” and only about half the guys don’t read the text––which, I think is a pretty good ratio.

The biggest obstacle I’ve found from finding friends online is explaining that I’m actually just looking for friends. I’ll have a ten-minute chat with a guy who seems to have a ton of mutual interests, and then he texts me an unsolicited wiener shot. As nicely as possible, I redirect the conversation, sometimes even commenting politely on his junk––if it’s nice––out of courtesy, of course. Though once the air clears, I’ve already seen which of his testicles hangs the lowest and, for some reason, that now makes things weird for him.

On rarer occasions, a guy will become enraged about my mission for friendship. A few months ago, a gentleman with a photo of an almond as his default pic, heavily questioned my truthfulness. He believed that I wrote “friendship” as a method to “screen out old queens.” I still don’t know what that means, but I’m glad it didn’t deter me.

Even though I feel like some guys don’t believe my intentions, Grindr has worked out in my favor. Over the past few years, I’ve made about ten great friends from the app. Most are guys that live in my building or nearby, and like it says on our profiles, we share a lot of the same interests. Perhaps, that’s the benefit of using Grindr over meeting in-person. At a bar, I can’t see who my fellow beach bums are or where the travel-holics are standing. Admittedly, it does take a bit of work to search for friends online, but the hunt has been worth the effort. For the ones that don’t work out, at least I got to see some nice wieners.

Grooming Habits to Start in Your 20s

For most guys, your 20s are for exploration, finding out who you are, and working on who you will become. It’s also a prime time to start developing healthy habits and routines, and learning how to balance the good choices with the not so good ones. It’s perfectly normal to have no clue what you want to do with your life in your 20s, but at least you should start to invest in staying handsome longer. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Get to know your face

Not all mugs are designed the same. Everyone’s skin is unique and requires different maintenance. The most common categories are dry, oily, normal, and combination. Check out this Wikihow site to figure out your skin type. For most people, the basic maintenance will be same, but the details involving the products you choose will slightly vary.

2. Clean up your act

The most important thing to remember is that your skin is more like a sponge and less like a shell. Skin is covered in pores and all your pores really want is to star on the show Hoarders. You collect everything in your pores: dirt, sweat, oil, and all of the free radicals floating around the environment. It’s important to choose a face wash that doesn’t over dry your skin but also cleans it thoroughly. Give Youth to the People Age Prevention Cleanser ($36) a try.

3. Exfoliate

Your skin is a flesh factory that produces cells. Every day your body is making new healthy skin cells and getting rid of old dead ones. When old skin cells start to pile up, it can leave the skin looking dry and dull, and can cause blackheads and breakouts. In order to keep the production flowing smoothly, it’s crucial to exfoliate a few times a week. Exfoliation can be done either chemically or with a manual scrub. Take a look at Baxter of California Facial Scrub ($19).

4. Moisturize and protect

Moisturizer is key to creating balance in the skin. Even if your skin is oily, it still needs positive moisture to stay hydrated and firm. Applying a moisturizer is like giving your skin eight glasses of water, and usually have other benefits like anti-aging or anti-inflammatory. It’s imperative you wear a sunscreen, and an easy way to do that is to select a moisturizer that already has one in it. The sun is anti-aging’s Voldemort. Not only does the sun burn and cause cancer, it also makes the skin produce excess melanin which creates age and sunspots. A study by the American Society for Photobiology found that most Americans receive 18% of their sun damage before the age of 18, and then 10% each decade after. Wearing sunscreen now is like putting change away in your handsome face piggy bank. Try out MD Solar Science Daily Anti-Aging SPF 30 Moisturizer ($68).

5. Keep your eyes on the prize

One of the first places you’ll start to see aging is around your eyes. This area of the face shows a lot of expression. All the smiling, eye rolling, and WTF facial expressions will start to create “crow’s feet” or wrinkles. Part of this is genetic, and part of this preventable. Your skin is built like a mattress and box spring, and it has several layers and springs to help keep it firm. But after a while, the coils start to loosen, the box spring starts to crack, and the bed starts to sink in where you normally sleep. The same thing goes for the delicate skin around your eyes. If you start using an eye cream now, it’s like investing in a quality bed (instead of the one you most likely have from Ikea, since you’re a 20-something). Eye cream can also have other great benefits, such as de-puffing and brightening. Start with something lighter, and then each decade step it up for more maintenance. A great starter eye cream is Clinique All About Eyes ($32).

Ghost Life: Why Do Some Guys Just Disappear?

“I’m done dating men!” my frustrated friend recently yelled at a house party. We were drinking Moscow mules, and I nearly spit mine all over him as he deserved. My friend can’t possibly mean that, can he? How am I supposed to live vicariously through him if he’s not dating anymore? I took a deep breath and pressed my friend for the reason. The explanation was surprisingly simple: a guy ghosted. All at once, it made sense.

You know how ghosting works: One day you’re happily texting, and the next, no response from the other party. Sometimes it’s a guy you’ve known for a while or a casual hookup. More often, ghosting is a product of casual dating. In my friend’s case, the guy just didn’t show up for a date––and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to him. A month before, a different guy stopped responding after a second date. My friend is really good looking, has a great job, he’s kind, and fun to be around. So why did this happen?

I’ve been ghosted a few times in my life, and in my early twenties, it was the hardest to handle. It was easy to take it personally. However, over the years, I realized that this has happened to pretty much everyone that I know, and the story is always the same: I thought everything was cool, and then, out of nowhere, he disappeared.

So, why do guys do this? Are these men commitment-phobes? Was he never interested in meeting? Or is he secretly just an 80-year-old man catfishing for nudes? Ghosting seems to be a mystery wrapped in another mystery, but I still tried to solve it––and the answer I found is pretty direct.

Since it’s impossible to know what someone else is thinking without asking, I solicited ghosters for their reasons. I read blogs and asked some friends, and while the answers varied, they had a common ground. One ghoster I spoke to admitted that he disappeared on a guy because he was no longer interested. Yet, the ghoster claims to be a “people pleaser,” and he didn’t want to upset anyone. Another ghoster said he slept with his last date, shared laughs, and even secrets. Suddenly, he felt in over his head and wanted out. When faced with the choice to talk or disappear––he screened every call, never responded, and waited for it to end.

From what I found, ghosters do it because they just don’t “feel it” anymore. One day, dating seemed like a good idea and the next, not so much. Whatever the motive, the ghoster usually felt bad. He knows that it only takes a moment to text or call someone. Sure, the other person might get mad, but if the ghoster can’t even communicate, he’s probably not ready for a relationship.

As for my friend, he’s back to dating and not taking it very seriously. This is good for me because I don’t have to stage an intervention or stop hearing the dirty details of his dating life. Hopefully, a future guy won’t disappear. If it does happen, I’ll take him out for a Moscow mule, and we’ll cheer that he likely avoided another dud.

Face Baggage: Easy Eye Rescue Tips

We see you with your late nights, early mornings, and six Grindr dates per weekend (not to mention too many cocktails inside the Interior Illusion lounge). You may be as tired as Dolly Parton’s bra, but you sure as hell don’t have to look it. Under-eye bags are a sign of stress and fatigue and can be a huge insecurity for people dealing with them. Here’s the T on quick and household ways to eliminate your two facial carry-on’s.

Potatoes

Relax queen, you don’t actually have to eat the carb. This recipe calls for two potato slices that have soaked in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Potatoes have a ton of nutrients that are beneficial for the skin. Not only do potatoes help moisturize, they also contain a natural bleaching agent and a special nutrient to help de-puff. Leave the chilled slices under your eyes as long as you would like, even overnight.

Tea bags

I mean literal bags full of tea leaves. Wet some green or black tea bags and place them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Remove the bags and squeeze out excess water. Lay down with the tea bags under eyes and relax for about 20 minutes. The caffeine, tannins, and antioxidants get the blood flowing while simultaneously tightening and brightening.

Spoons

Take two spoons and place them on your ice trays in your freezer. Wait about five minutes, and then place under your eyes. The cold metal helps reduce the swelling in 30 to 40 seconds.

Coffee grounds with coconut oil

The caffeine in the coffee grounds help to shrink the small veins and reduce inflammation. This DIY eye mask is my personal fave: Take two spoonfuls of coffee grounds and a small dab of coconut oil. Apply at the base of your ocular bone in the shape of a triangle, stretching to the base of the nose. It is important to not apply directly up to the lashes because the coconut oil can travel into the eyes. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off.

Cucumbers

I prefer to experience this in a silk robe with my hair in a towel, but to each their own. The antioxidants help to brighten while the actual cucumber holds a chill that helps to circulate the lymphatic fluids that cause puffiness.

5 Tips To Help You Avoid Online Dating Fatigue

Dating can be a pain in the ass. Except for that one friend who absolutely loves going on dates every night of the week, most of us grow weary. It’s not the bad dates that are discouraging, because at least you get a good story out of them. It’s the mediocre dates that get to you. They wear you down and make you lose faith in gaykind, especially when you were particularly excited about that new prospect.

You’re probably familiar with this scenario: You’re texting back and forth for a few days. His humor is on point, he (dis)likes the same things you do, and his pictures are fire. Most importantly, he’s obsessed with same TV shows you are.

You then meet him in person only to find out he doesn’t look anything like his photos, can barely hold a conversation, and seems incapable of making a single joke.

The first time this happens you’re annoyed, but still cautiously optimistic. By the fifth time, you begin to suspect that all queer men are liars, dating is the worst, and you’re doomed to grow old alone, surrounded by a dozen cats all named Snowball. You become jaded, so you stop trying to meet new guys altogether.

Don’t. There’s no reason to Google “local animal adoption agencies” just yet. Try these instead:

#1: Don’t message back and forth forever.

Often, a guy’s online persona vastly differs from how they act in real life. They feel empowered online, but face-to-face, they haven’t quite mastered social skills. Avoid this by setting up the date quickly. You don’t want to invest your time and energy into a guy and get your hopes up only to be immediately let down. If he’s cute and seems friendly after a dozen or so messages, then set up a time and place to meet.

#2: Set up dates within a few days.

If you wait to set up a date a week from now, there’s a much higher likelihood he’s going to cancel. In that week period, other things come up in his life. He’s messaged other guys. He’s busy with work. Simply put, he’s over you. So odds are he’s going cancel. That’s why you want to meet for drinks or coffee a day or two after you decide you want to hang out in person. Keep the ball rolling.

#3: Set up dates nearby.

I was once young and excitable and would travel all over the city for a first date. There is nothing worse than spending a half hour getting ready and commuting an hour downtown, only to realize within thirty seconds that you’re not going to hit it off with this guy. Now, for first dates, I set them up walking distance from my apartment. This way, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time if it’s a bad date. Not only that, I can invite him back to my place after the date if it goes well.

#4: Text when you want to text.

We’re not in high school anymore. Playing hard to get is a turn-off. If you like him, message him. It’s as simple as that. If you find yourself obsessed about when/if you should text him, you’re going to despise the whole dating process for being anxiety-inducing.

#5: Breathe.

There’s no hurry. After dozens of failed relationships, my guncle met his husband when he was in his early 50’s. They got married last year and have now been together for eight years. I know in the gay community we think that 30 is the new 50, and 50 is literally a rotting corpse. That’s not the case. You can find love at any point in your life.

Stick to these tips and you’ll start to gain some of that excitement and blissful naivety you had about dating right when you came out. Before the slew of mediocre dates and let downs. Before all the nonsense and jadedness.

Because hey, wouldn’t it be nice if dating wasn’t the worst again?

You Can’t Sit With Us

As queer culture continues to carve its own colorful niche in the otherwise monotonous world of mainstream society, the role of queer spaces themselves has become more important than ever. We may see drag queens on TV, gay men in make-up campaigns, and trans women on the cover of Vogue, but the dominant political attitude in the world at large is still one of hostility towards all minorities. This general willingness to celebrate queer creativity but reluctance to actually protect queer people has led to LGBTQ+ bars and nightlife coming under more scrutiny than ever. Should these places be entirely inclusive, or should they remain exclusive to ensure a safe environment?

Opinions have differed wildly over the years – and rightly so. It is, after all, a complicated debate. Personally, growing up queer in a small village dominated by working-class masculinity meant that, when I did move to a city and discover my local queer bars, they immediately became a refuge. Not only was I surrounded by like-minded people, I was able to indulge my desires without judgement, and most importantly, share experiences and make friends that would go on to become valuable voices outside the club walls. Last year’s tragic Orlando massacre reiterated the importance of these spaces – although they have, by no means, always been safe, they have at least created a sense of community in a world which can often seem to resent your existence.

However, in my experience – and the experiences of various other voices both online and in daily life – these spaces have never been, and still aren’t, perfect. I’ve seen female friends turned away and verbally abused, PoC made to feel glaringly unwelcome, and trans women forcefully ejected from toilet cubicles.

There are countless articles and interviews online which outline the fact that racism, misogyny, and transphobia are already prevalent in LGBTQ+ venues; from bloggers sharing their own personal experiences to high-profile sites highlighting a wider cultural attitude, the receipts are endless. The problem with only asking whether straight people should be allowed in queer venues is deeper than it first seems; not only does it detract attention from these ongoing issues which need to be tackled, it implies that these venues are inclusive and welcoming enough to begin with.

Still, the debate is valid and increasingly necessary. Last week, RuPaul added new context and highlighted the crux of the problem: “People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone is there to serve them.” The icon honed in on bachelorette parties and straight women in particular, arguing that the mentality is that gay men are an accessory. “Just because your limited view is that everyone’s there to serve you and you’re the only person in the world. It doesn’t work that way.”

Increasingly, venues worldwide are adopting a new mentality which is welcoming of anybody that’s tolerant and respectful. After all, how can we monitor someone’s sexuality before they step into a queer space? There is no door policy which can successfully label someone’s identity and, after all, queerness is supposed to be a rejection of labels – so why would we want to even try?

Some arguments have focused on the fact that straight people are essentially tourists of queer culture; this doesn’t mean exclusion, it simply means respect. LGBTQ+ communities need queer spaces more than ever; we need our own individual hubs to be able to do whatever we want without being judged to the same standards that see us persecuted and discriminated against outside of these settings. These group mentalities aren’t achieved through exclusion – homophobia is already rife within the gay community, a fact which highlights that the problem isn’t gender identity, race, or sexuality; it’s your attitude. So, if you do want to ‘tour’ queer spaces, bring an ideology of acceptance, don’t be intrusive, and don’t discriminate. Stay in your lane, bring cash to support queens and queer-owned businesses, and ultimately, help us make these valuable spaces as accepting as possible.