And although I finally accepted that I was queer before college started, I still didn’t feel like I was ready to fully put myself out there.
So as a result, I refused to place myself in queer spaces like LGBTQ club meetings or other on-campus events catered to queer people simply because I felt exposed.
Although, thankfully, none of those romantic and sexual pursuits ever materialized into anything serious or long-term, the experience unfortunately set an unhealthy standard for the types of people I would continue swiping right on — the standard simply being “mediocre white guys who want to sleep with me.” Additionally, my internalized racism — of me despising my Asianness — was articulated through the outright dismissal of pursuing other queer Asian males.
Apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Her and so forth have made pursuing partners much more convenient and accessible than it used to be.
And as we mindlessly swipe left and right on countless profiles, we often are not conscious of how our own racial biases can be reflected and mediated through our swiping choices.
In other words, dating apps could be perpetuating racism by amplifying one’s ability to choose partners based on their “racial preferences.” I, for one, was once a culprit of having racial preferences, and didn’t notice those patterns in my dating behavior until I decided to take a real, cold hard look at who my past partners were and the types of people I would often swipe right on.
It was Tinder through which I entered the dating scene — an app that would ultimately define my understanding of romantic pursuit and set a precedent for the racial biases that would follow.
As a queer Asian American cis man, it was, and still is, difficult for me to navigate the queer dating scene at Binghamton University.
However, I still wanted to explore my sexuality in a more subtle way, which is what drove me to download Tinder.