Though June has passed, Pride is so much more than a month-long celebration, just as the Black Lives Matter movement is more than a trend that will pass with the news cycle.
Unfortunately, though, while love is supposed to always be love, the LGBTQ+ community and BIPOC still face discrimination and racism daily, and their dating lives are no exception to the injustice. Yes, even in 2020.
From receiving dirty looks for being in interracial or same-sex couples to being stereotyped based on gender and/or sexual orientation to verbal disapproval from family and strangers to lost friendships, here is what nine people had to say about the discrimination they've faced (some based on race and others based on sexual identity) in their dating lives.
1. "Racism has affected my dating life overall because I feel like people are expecting me to date within my race and when they realize that I am interested in guys outside of my race, they treat me differently." — Lexi Locke
"We actually never got to the 'meet the parents' part of our relationship because he was scared of the effects and wanted to avoid any negativity. Part of the reason why we didn't last (I think) is because I felt he was ashamed to be with me because I'm Black and he's white."
2. "I've gotten dirty looks when I'm out on a date but never anything said to my face. I would start a scene with no hesitation if it escalated to that." — Cora Dickey
"It just gets exhausting not finding what you're looking for. People see me but they set what they want as a filter."
3. "Once, when I was out with my white boyfriend at the time, I was told by our server that I should stick to my own kind." — Neha Tandon
"My fellow girlfriends of color and I have all noticed that the algorithm [on dating apps] only serves us people that look like us. My friend is Hispanic and only gets shown other Hispanic guys on Tinder. I'm Indian, and I deleted Hinge because it was only showing me other Southeast Asian men."
4. "My race is typically a factor in almost everything I do, and with dating, it's no different. As a Black woman, racism and anti-Blackness are always in the back of my mind when becoming romantic with someone." — Tatyannah King
"I still feel considered/seen on dating apps. However, I would be lying if I said that dating apps didn't expose when someone outside my race is only interested in me to fulfill a weird fetish for 'trying out a Black girl for the first time' as if I'm a brand new lunch combo at a fast-food restaurant."
5. "Being transgender, the thought is always at the forefront of my mind and a sense of anxiety follows me wherever I go. When I'm in public I feel as if it is stamped on my forehead and everybody can tell." — Logan Merrill
"Being transgender, the thought is always at the forefront of my mind and a sense of anxiety follows me wherever I go. When I'm in public I feel as if it is stamped on my forehead and everybody can tell...
When I first came to terms with myself as a trans man I accepted the fact that there was a huge chance that I would never find love. How could anyone voluntarily be with someone like me who comes with so many strings attached?
How would they explain that to their parents and family? Would they approve? Not to mention the hate and ridicule they would also be prone to just being guilty by association.
I just felt like too much of an obstacle, too much of a burden, so dating was always the last thing on my mind. But then you came along, you took every doubt I've ever had about myself and threw it right out of the window.
I'll never forget how you shut down the coward with the random number that first texted you reminding you that I was a 'tranny freak' or how you were afraid to tell me because you didn't want to see the hurt in my eyes."
6. "There are still many families that create a toxic environment for their queer children by preaching homophobia to them... There's also rampant racism and body shaming within the gay community, making it an unwelcoming place for queer people of color and heavyset men." — Zachary Kyle Winograd
"There are still many families that create a toxic environment for their queer children by preaching homophobia to them. This, of course, makes it difficult for them to be emotionally vulnerable to anyone else, including other gay men. It isn't their fault that they're this way, it's the fault of an intolerant society that still demonizes homosexuality and doesn't allow for any positive queer representation within the media (which, thankfully is changing).
There's also rampant racism and body shaming within the gay community, making it an unwelcoming place for queer people of color and heavyset men... We're already a minority within the world, why should we further alienate people within our own community? It just doesn't make sense."
7. "My boyfriend recently got a Facebook message, attached to it was a picture of us and the message simply said 'Du Untermensch.' A quick google search left me in awe." — Denice Odhiambo
"Unlike some of my friends who are dating within their race and can walk down the street without getting stares, I, sadly, can't...
Unfortunately, things like that still happen. We live in what is arguably the most culturally diverse country, yet me walking hand in hand with my white boyfriend is not the 'norm.'
My boyfriend recently got a Facebook message, attached to it was a picture of us and the message simply said 'Du Untermensch.' A quick google search left me in awe.
'Du Untermensch,' or just 'Untermensch,' which translates to 'subhuman' was a term used by Nazis to describe people they deemed inferior i.e. Jews, Roma, Blacks, and other people of color.
I was shocked and angry. I was also confused as to how a person would take time out of their day, get on their social media, and send such a disgusting message to an interracial couple."
8. "Probably one of the most hurtful things to hear is that pansexuality, in and of itself, is 'myth.' How would you feel if someone said that an integral part of your identity was fake or not meant to last?" — Ray Skidmore
"As a pansexual queer person with many bisexual and pansexual friends, nothing makes me more frustrated and exhausted than hearing these ten harmful stereotypes, among many others, that are perpetuated within both straight and queer culture...
Probably one of the most hurtful things to hear is that pansexuality, in and of itself, is 'myth.' How would you feel if someone said that an integral part of your identity was fake or not meant to last?"READ MORE
9. "A month or so after I came out, one of my relatively close friends started distancing herself... I finally asked her what the issue was. Her response soon became a sentence I would hear way too often: 'I don't want you to start liking me like that.'" — Ciara Gazaway
"We didn't get in a fight and she seemed very accepting when I told her I was gay. We used to get lunch together, go shopping, and have regular sleepovers but once I was out, all of that stopped. After making plans and having them fall through over and over, I finally asked her what the issue was. Her response soon became a sentence I would hear way too often: 'I don't want you to start liking me like that.'"READ MORE
Now, no matter how "woke" you may be, there is always room to listen, learn, and take action to be more inclusive in all aspects of your life.
1. Read books and romance novels written by Black authors or authors of color
- Take it a step further and skip buying from Amazon and purchase from Black-owned bookstores
2. Read books and romance novels featuring Black or LGBTQ+ protagonists (or characters of color)
3. Read books about race and identity
4. Watch TV shows and movies with diverse casts
- Here are just 17 of the best LGBTQ+ TV couples and characters that fill us with pride
5. Listen to podcasts on race
6. Discuss politics and identity with the people closest to you, especially your S.O.
- If they aren't open-minded and willing to learn, you may want to consider doing what this girl did
7. Be conscious of where you are spending your money
- Get ready for a date by shopping one of these Black-owned fashion and size-inclusive brands
- Then consider stripping down to your underwear thanks to these Black-owned lingerie brands
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