Being a gay Muslim of South-Asian descent I often find some sort of prejudice within the gay community when it comes to dating and hooking up.

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I noticed it especially when I started using the apps. The apps are great, you can be as specific as you want and really filter down to find what you are looking for. There are also a number of different apps to cater for specific gay communities and labels. They are also a great way of realising how picky you can be when it comes to what you want. A lot of people are open-minded and others are very upfront with their requirements.

After getting past my initial bombardment of unsolicited photos, I started looking through profiles until I found someone I was interested in. He looked great and the start of his profile was funny. But that’s when I saw it. He specifically stated he didn’t want Asians, wanted the guy to be smooth and wanted him to be slim. All of the things I am not in other words. I was hurt in some way from reading this, but quickly shrugged it off and said to myself that the views of one person shouldn’t make me feel bad. I moved on to the next guy, whose profile was blank, and messaged him. He replied that he wasn’t looking for Asians as well. I took this in one of two ways. He was genuinely not looking for Asians, or using it as an excuse to end the conversation early. Again I shrugged it off, I can’t change my ethnicity so why bother myself with people who are being prejudiced against me. I did find a lot of people who were interested and we had some conversation that either led to something or didn’t. Such is the nature of the apps I found.

But it got me thinking, is it prejudice or racism. I mean we all have our types, myself included, but I don’t feel the need to implicitly tell people that I don’t want a specific skin colour. I am open-minded, and my main criterion is someone with kind eyes. It sounds funny, but I am drawn to eyes and how they can convey a lot about people. I understand that these guys who put their requirements are doing so to ward off any unwanted attention, and to help them find what they are looking for faster. But is that really the case? I tested this out and put my requirements based on my current mood, and I found a handful of matches. When I saw these select few it made me realise that I didn’t particularly feel drawn to any of them. I went back to my more open requirements and felt instantly better. But that is just how I am, these people who don’t want fats, femmes or Asians know what they want, and that is their choice. It would be easy for me to judge them, but then again should they not be allowed to seek what they want?

One interaction that really threw me off was when a guy messaged me saying he doesn’t usually go for Asians, but I would be an exception. That is when I genuinely got angry at the comment he made. It implied that I am acceptable even though I am Asian, and that he deems me worthy of his attention. I rightly put him down for that comment and ended the conversation there. He blocked me, which was to be expected, but had he not I would have blocked him and his pointed views out of my life anyway. Other interactions have had people ask me where I was born, as they don’t want people who weren’t born in the UK or don’t speak English without an accent. Again, I have no time for these people. They are trying to cover up their prejudice towards immigrants by making it out that they are just having a normal conversation.

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This isn’t to say I haven’t found people from the apps, as I have had a number of dates. What it is saying is that people shouldn’t feel bad if they find prejudice within the apps. They should ask themselves if they would want to be with someone like that, and if they do then that is fine. But you never know what you might find when you venture out of your preferences. I know I have been surprised and learned more about myself when I have ventured out. So for any profile out there that states ‘no Asians,’ I’m sorry but you are missing out. We are amazing.

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