An overwhelming majority of 85 per cent of young daters in India agree that they challenge traditional relationship goals and dating standards that were passed down from previous generations, according to insights shared by Gaysi Family in collaboration with Tinder
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In the ongoing Pride Month, popular dating app, Tinder has revealed new insights about how young adults in India are boldly challenging societal norms, embracing fluid identities, and reshaping the dating landscape with an open mindset. With more than half of Tinder members globally being Gen Z, and as the most fluid of any generation ever, the dating app has revealed that its LGBTQIA+ member base has grown at twice the rate of its overall base, and that non-binary is the most common “more genders'' choice for Tinder members globally.
In fact, according to the recent Future of Dating report, there has been a 30 per cent increase in gender identities other than male or female on Tinder since 2021 and people identifying as non-binary have increased by 104 per cent within one year alone.
To better understand where LGBTQIA+ members find themselves now, and how these attitudes influence evolving perceptions around love and human connection, Tinder in India teamed up with Gaysi Family, a queer-owned, queer-run media platform in the country to decode some of these insights.
Making dating more diverse than ever before
As a result of decades of advocacy by queer activists, Gen Z in India has come of age at a time when the exploration of queerness is relatively more accessible to them. As a result, they are changing the way they express themselves and relate to each other. Dubbed the most fluid generation worldwide, more than a quarter of young daters (29 per cent) experience their gender as more fluid (i.e., not fixed or constant/changing based on the environment or person being interacted with) than three years ago, and a third (33 per cent) say the same about their sexual orientation. Their acceptance of difference is reflected in their more inclusive approach to dating and relationships as well as other aspects of their lives. More than half (56 per cent) of the young daters in India are open to dating individuals with diverse gender identities, sexual orientations, and gender expressions.
Tinder was the first dating app in 2016 to empower its members to identify themselves beyond the binary by introducing the 'More Genders' feature and sexual orientation to give people a feature that empowered them to identify beyond man or woman.
Rejecting gender norms and redefining relationships
Gen Z’s rejection of traditional gender roles is validated by their dating patterns as 76 per cent young daters in India affirm that their generation actively questions and defies traditional gender stereotypes perpetuated by earlier generations. Establishing new relationship paradigms, an overwhelming majority of 85 per cent of young daters in India agree that they challenge traditional relationship goals and dating standards that were passed down from previous generations, reflecting a desire for more authentic, inclusive and fulfilling connections that better align with their individual identities. Gen Z on dating apps are making the effort to learn what feels affirming to their friends, dates, and prospective partners.
To support them in navigating these conversations and in an effort to normalise and encourage conversations on diverse identities and expressions, Tinder had launched www.letstalkgender.in, an online guide and glossary last year in collaboration with Gaysi Family in India.
Dating apps as catalysts for self-exploration
Dating apps are increasingly becoming a space where young adults feel comfortable exploring and expressing their gender and sexuality, compared to their offline interactions with friends and family. In fact, 54 per cent of young LGBTQIA+ daters have ‘come out’ on a dating app before doing so IRL (identified as non-normative gender/sexuality on a dating app before ‘coming out’ in real life to family and friends), which suggests that dating apps are serving as a platform for self-discovery. When asked, 7 out of 10 young daters in India agreed that dating apps provide a platform for more freedom and self-exploration and have helped dismantle stereotypes and expectations surrounding gender, sex, and relationships. This points towards the transformative influence that dating apps are having on young individuals to authentically express themselves.
Tinder recently introduced a series of new profile stickers such as ‘My First Pride’, ‘Happy Pride’ and more, giving members more options to express themselves and connect with others in an authentic and relatable way to celebrate Pride.
Welcome to the era of ‘All or Nothing’ dating
Young daters are ushering in a new era of dating that values meaningful connections and overall well-being. They are increasingly prioritising qualities like intentionality and transparency, challenging traditional dating norms, with self-care and mental health being the primary consideration. More than half of the millennials surveyed in India agree that dating is healthier, more honest and more open for 18-25 year olds today than it was when they were the same age. In fact, 86 per cent of young daters in India, said that they find a match more attractive if they prioritise their mental health and well-being. 81 per cent young daters in India also agree that having a partner who values self-care is critical to a happy relationship and 77 per cent young Indian daters agree that they would never compromise on their own-self care for a relationship. This goes to emphasise the need for more authentic and fulfilling connections.
In response to this need for intentionality and authenticity in dating, Tinder launched the Relationship-types in-app feature, which encourages members to indicate the various kinds of relationships they’re interested in.
“At Tinder, we're proud to support and uplift queer stories that showcase the magic of love, romance and the sparks in between. This generation is driving incredible change in how they date, who they date, and what they define as dating. It's an honor for us to be part of their self-discovery journey on the app and IRL. We're committed to creating an inclusive dating ecosystem for daters to find meaningful and authentic connections they value most.” said Aahana Dhar, director of communications India, Tinder.
Tejaswi Subramanian, digital editor, Gaysi Family said, "For queer users, dating apps have allowed us to present ourselves to the world in a way that feels affirming to us. From holding up Pride flags in our pictures to sharing the kinds of relationships we are open to, it has offered us more agency and space to affirm our relational needs without being shamed for it. It's heartening to see how young folks on dating apps are benefiting from such a Zeitgeist moment. Intentionality, consent, boundaries, and mental well-being seem to be the emphasis, and we hope that we can continue to sustain a dating ecosystem where these are priority and the basis of building romantic as well as platonic relationships."
Every year, thousands of queer love stories play out on Tinder, that deserve to be celebrated and told. Pranat and Manav, 21-year-old Tinder members from Lucknow, share their thoughts. “From my very first text exchange with Manav, it was a calming relationship. There were no subtexts or pretexts, and we quickly started talking about our interests – plants for him, dancing for me. When we go out in public, we often get asked: who is the girlfriend and who is the boyfriend. What is amazing is that we have never identified ourselves with that stereotyping. What matters is love. Honestly, I didn’t realise but just not caring about these stereotypes is what has challenged them. Our only focus is on caring for and loving each other.”