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Queer Intimacies: Homonormative Online Dating

Davine Sorapuru-Edwards, Anthropology

Queer Intimacies: Homonormative Online Dating

Imagine, for a moment, portraying the best representation of yourself with a profile that only allows 15 characters for a screen name, and 250 characters to describe yourself. Challenging, right? Romantic pursuits have been revolutionized by geolocation-based dating applications. In the case of homonormative dating, apps such as: Grindr, Scruff, and Jack’d have commodified filtering algorithms, allowing  their subscribers to efficiently find their “type”.

With (hyper)masculinity being fetishized, and femme affect being scrutinized, we see the recent emergence of the #Masc4Masc (masculine for masculine) trend in the queer community. In-fact, the phrase “no fats, no fems, no Blacks, no Asians” is seen with such frequency on some dating profiles that it has, to an extent, become normalized in the queer community. However, the opposite also takes place, where we see the fetishization of racialized men. Perhaps the only way to circumvent such an exclusionary online culture is to be strategic with what data is entered into one’s profile.

I investigate affect, algorithmic bias, digital identity, masculinity, and “passing” as they relate to homonormative online dating. This research is guided by the following questions: (1) In what ways do homosexual and bisexual men (re)construct their digital identities to align themselves with politics of desirability? (2) In what ways will the epistemology of racial/ethnic “passing” be redefined by filters and algorithms? (3) In what ways has the commodification and racialization of (hyper)masculinity led to an unintended segregation within the queer community? (4) Has the legalization of Same-Sex Marriage, and the current US political climate, altered the utilization of homonormative online dating?