And within three months of its debut, it’s gotten shout outs from even famous people such as queer author Carmen Machado and actress Jen Richards. Their feed is also flooded with many happy and enthusiastic users recounting recent meetups or chats they have had as well.
Scruff is also geared toward gay men
Grindr did change its policy so that it is now geared toward people of all genders, but it has historically been a more male-dominated space. There’s also Zoe, which is made for female-identified folks, along with HER and Likk. Even mainstream apps such as OkCupid have tried to be more inclusive when it comes to gender, but they still tend to broadly cater to the heterosexual crowd.
Personal ads, in general, have experienced a bit of an online Renaissance with Craigslist’s infamous Casual Encounters, Personals, and Missed Connections sections. Despite that, Missed Connections still lives on in the Community section of Craigslist, and ads for people seeking sex and hookups do occasionally slip in. With the launch of Lex’s Instagram in 2018, this newfound queer space exploded after getting national attention and generated even greater interest, underscoring the need for more apps and social spaces like this.
Lex’s approach to a dating app is essential in the 21st century and is helping to foster a larger attitude of sexual and gender inclusion. And as Rakowski and Lex’s website stress, they are trying to create both a dating and community space. In the spirit of the larger project Rakowski is developing, it is putting queer identity at the center and is helping people form a community and become connected on a global scale.
“Recently, we featured on Lex Instagram a story about an artist in Minnesota conceptualizing a mural with a Filipino dating service community organizer in Michigan. They worked together and with other queers to create a gorgeous mural in Saginaw, Michigan in honor of queers, trans, and drag queens that live in Saginaw. The artist and organizer are now bonded and great friends.”
Connections such as these that Lex is creating are essential to the LGBTQ+ community. They also play a huge role in how people interact and meet more like-minded individuals. By carving out this space and encouraging those who use it to connect in meaningful, fun, and sexy ways, they are helping to bolster what queerness and queer identity are.
The app’s overall emphasis on creating a community is also a departure from apps such as Tinder and Grindr that seek to connect people on a romantic and sexual level only. Lex’s emphasis on queer, trans, non-binary, and female-identified folks has helped to set it apart by giving space to a portion of the population that is normally not recognized on more mainstream apps. Platforms such as Lex allow for change to occur and also help build a stronger sense of community for the queer community locally and internationally.
However, in 2018, the federal government shut down Casual Encounters and Personals on Craigslist, in an attempt to address larger sexual trafficking issues and individuals who have used the space for sex work
“[With Lex, we want to] bring people together from URL to IRL and have fun. The app is meant to form connections with queers from all over the world-or your neighborhood,” says Rakowski.
“With Lex, the text is first and selfies second,” Rakowski says. “The focus is on your personality, wit, and clarity of your desires. We are very focused on serving the queer community. There are two ways of experiencing the Lex app, as a reader and as a writer. Some users of Lex might be just enjoying the experience reading about how other queers express themselves, but not interested in writing a personal. It’s also much less focused on dating, but also creating lasting friendships and community.”