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“Connect, then select”: Gay dating in the time of the pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic and several lockdown restrictions have had most of us stuck at home for over a year now. With social activities put on hold, people have turned to one activity to remedy the growing need for human interaction—online dating.

 

Over the past year, dating apps experienced an increase in users and time spent using these apps. Blued, the largest gay social network app in the world, gained 30% more active users per month by the end of April 2021. Another app reports 42% more matches per user and up to 19% more messages sent per day in February of 2021 versus 2020.

 

But online dating is not always a one-size-fits-all fix for everyone.

 

“The getting-to-know stage through messaging becomes longer, to the point that either one would eventually lose interest,” said Kyle*, a 26-year-old marketer.

 

Marky*, a 20-year-old Architecture student said to not take online dating too seriously because most people just seek quick hook-ups and “quaranflings” on dating apps. Virtual interactions can be very tricky as you only see what they want you to see,” he said.

 

But while there are those like Kyle and Marky who do not believe in dating without personally meeting each other first, there are others like Beck who seek genuine connections more than ever too.

 

After failing to rekindle a past relationship over the lockdown, Beck was motivated to look for a serious relationship. “Uhaw ako sa love life noon kaya willing akong bumalik sa ex ko kahit na toxic! (I was so eager for a love life back then, I was willing to go back to a toxic ex!)” he said. “Then I tried Blued and found the kind of connection that I wanted.”

 

More than just a dating app

 

When it comes to catering to its LGBTQ+ users, Blued proves that it does more than just mix and match people together.

 

As a full-blown social networking site, Blued connects over 60 million users worldwide. With features like “Meet” video speed dating and Voice Chat Rooms, users can interact with each other in fun and new ways.

 

"While the pandemic may have affected offline gatherings, we are bringing them online, uniting our community in a positive celebration of who they are. It is a space where you can make many meaningful connections and express yourself along the way.” said Liam Lu, Head of Blued International.

 

 

For Beck, Blued helped him meet a lot of guys through unique features that made his profile stand out. Beyond that, it introduced him to a safe and loving space.

 

If you're looking for a community of people just like you and me, BLUED offers a space where you can connect safely and express yourself freely,” said yogi and activist Ben Bernabe.

 

Recently, the app launched #LiveYourPride in celebration of this year’s Pride Month. The campaign kicked off with a global TVC featuring a diverse cast, a virtual nightclub experience, and special events per country and region.

 

In the Philippines, Blued PH is celebrating gays of all shapes and stories through “Living My Gay Life.” The local campaign features notable personalities, such as viral content creators Sassa Gurl and Niel Esteban and filmmaker and HIV advocate Wanggo Gallaga, who flexed their proudest moments as members of the community.

 

 

Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko sa buhay, rejections, failures and short success, eto parin ako maganda, emz! (Through everything I’ve been through in life, rejections, failures, and short successes, here I am still beautiful, emz!)said resident TikTok star Pipay Kipay.

 

“I am proud to be a gay DJ and sharing my music is one of my passions. [I’m] thankful for apps like Blued where you can reach out & share a space for the genuine version of yourself,”  shared DJ and art director Mike Lavarez.

 

“#LiveYourPride unites our community online in a positive celebration of who we are,” said Lu. “With Blued, everyone is encouraged to live their prideand themselvesto the fullest.“

 

*Names have been changed for confidentiality.

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