Does experience matter when it comes to online connections?
Whether you’re looking for love or just a bit of fun, do you like someone with a bit of experience?
This year, Gaydar – the online dating specialists – will be celebrating their 20th anniversary.
Not only has the world changed dramatically in the past 20 years, but the options available for LGBTQ people to connect with each other has also been rapidly evolving.
Life before Gaydar
You may not be old enough to remember what queer dating was like before the emergence of online dating platforms such as Gaydar. Cruising, bars and clubs, and saunas and bathhouses were some of the most effective ways to meet others for a hook-up or something more. The other main option for finding a date was personals ads.
LGBTQ magazines would all have a Personals section, where you could list your profile – there generally wasn’t any photos, just a few lines of text that listed your age, your location, and what you were looking for. If you liked the look of someone’s profile, you had to send a letter to the magazine, the magazine would then send it off to the person that you wanted to contact. If they were interested, they would then write to you or call. It took some patience, and the strike-rate wasn’t particularly high.
Taking personals ads to the next level
Henry Badenhorst and Gary Frisch created Gaydar when a friend told them that he was too busy to find a date. The emerging technology of the internet enabled the founders of Gaydar to take the principles of the printed personals ads in the magazines and speed up the whole process. Being able to send and receive messages in real-time was a total game-changer. Gaydar became the first LGBTQ social network – a platform that brought queer men together and created a safe space for them to talk and connect with each other. Gaydar Girls was subsequently created to create the same opportunities for women.
The rise of the smart-phone has seen a further evolution in the way that we all access and share information, and how we communicate. With our phones ever-ready, we’re now always online – constantly multi-tasking. Our phones enable us to be simultaneously working, being entertained, keeping up-to-date with our friends, assessing global trends and emerging issues, and looking for love and hook-ups.
Still here. Still queer.
Throughout Gaydar’s 20-year history, it’s a business that’s been founded, owned, and managed by people who are proud to be part of the LGBTQ community. Gaydar is here to help people connect with each other, because everyone who works at Gaydar knows from personal experience how important that is.
Gaydar advocates for equality, and fights against discrimination and homophobia – again, because everyone who works at Gaydar knows from personal experience how it feels to be treated as less than equal. The Gaydar team are waving flags at Pride marches around the world because they respect and honour the people who fought for our rights, and want to create a better future for the generations of LGBTQ people who come after us.