- Lex is a queer dating app for lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, trans, genderqueer, intersex, two spirit, asexual, and queer people – everyone but cisgender men.
- The app is based on the “Personals” Instagram account and is entirely text-based, inspired by “old school newspaper personals.”
- Rather than swiping through matches like Bumble or Tinder, Lex users post classified ads with a title and description about who they are or what they are looking for.
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If you’re queer and not a cisgender man, chances are you know the struggle of trying to navigate dating apps.
Whether it’s couples looking for bisexual “unicorns” on platforms like Tinder or the general lack of queer-specific dating apps that aren’t geared towards cisgender queer men, finding spaces to meet other queer people can present a big challenge.
This need is what inspired Kell Rakowki to create Lex, a queer dating app exclusively for lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, trans, genderqueer, intersex, two spirit, asexual, and queer people. Essentially, everyone but cisgender men.
In addition to having no cisgender men on the platform, what sets Lex apart from other dating apps is that it is entirely text-based. Rather than swiping through matches, users write about themselves and what kind of person, relationship, or activity they are looking for – similar to personal ads in the classifieds section of a newspaper.
The initial idea for the app came from a popular Instagram account, formerly called Personals (it has since changed the name to @Lex.app).Personals was founded in 2017 by Rakowski and posted over 10,000 personal ads submitted by users since its inception.
“It’s bringing back the old-school way of reading personal ads, reading how people describe themselves, slowing down,” Rakowski told the Guardian. “It’s a gentler, more thoughtful way of getting to know someone.”
Whether the nostalgic format appeals to your romantic heart or you’re just looking for a space to meet other queer people, here’s a walkthrough of what it’s like to use Lex.
The first screen you’ll see after downloading Lex is the app’s personal statement.
After logging in, the screen reiterates that Lex is a space designed for queer people. In order to use the app, you also have to review and agree to the rules of conduct.
Next, you fill out personal information, including your name, date of birth…
…and pronouns. Lex allows you to select multiple options if you go by different sets of pronouns.
Lex lets you set your location so that you only see personals in your area, but you can skip that part if you’d rather browse all over the world. I opted to only see posts in my location just to make sure I didn’t accidentally fall for a profile halfway across the globe.
After creating your profile, you get to the Lex home screen, which allows you to scroll through personal ads from the last 30 days. And if you click the sliding scales icon in the top right corner…
… you can filter your options based on distance, age range, and keywords. The keywords section can be especially useful for people looking to fulfil a specific need, whether that’s an interest, kink, or dating preference like people of colour who would prefer to date other people of colour.
Each personal ad contains a headline, a description, and how many days are left to respond to the post before it disappears.
In addition to personal ads, users can also post “Missed Connections” — or descriptions of people they met in real life but didn’t get contact information from that they’d like to see again. Missed connections are highlighted in bright blue.
Once you find a personal ad or missed connections that speaks to you, click on the post, and the app takes you to the user’s profile. You also can see every post they have made on Lex in the last 30 days.
The messaging feature is fairly straightforward and looks similar to a text interface.
If you want to try your luck at making a post, you just click the pencil icon at the bottom of the home screen.
The personal ads range in style, from describing specific sexual desires to a tender biography and request to snuggle to people looking to build community.
If you click on the circle at the bottom of the screen, you get a view of your own profile and options for what kind of notifications you can receive.
The about screen reiterates Lex’s mission statement and rules of conduct. I appreciated how the app emphasises that language harmful to marginalised groups is off-limits.
Overall, the callback to photo-less personal ad format forced me to actually be mindful of the people I was messaging and made the conversations I was having feel a bit more meaningful from the beginning.
What I liked about Lex in comparison to other dating apps is that I could see myself using it to make meaningful connections, even if they aren’t romantic. While I’ve used Tinder and Hinge to make other queer friends in the past, Lex’s format feels less like shouting into the void because I can see everyone else posting and trying to build community.
That being said, the daunting nature of writing a personal ad with my Instagram attached for all the world to see might make me cautious in sharing information, and could be a point of anxiety for folks who are more private or introverted.
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