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Above All, Be Safe

Dating Safety Rules

 by Olga Gonzalez Latapi

 In the era of Tinder, Grindr, Hinge and Bumble, there are things we should all, regardless of gender and regardless of experience, should think about. The truth is that online dating is a wonderful thing. It opens up opportunities. It gives those who might be better through text a fighting chance. It gives us a moment to think about what we want and in a way look up keywords that work with that desire. But, unfortunately, with a lot of good can come a lot of bad. Some venues have even become havens for users of apps like Bumble, catering to those looking for a safe environment or even an easy way out in case the date should not work out as it should. 

 So, in the interest of taking advantage of the wonderful things (and futures) that online dating brings, I thought I would come up with a few rules to always keep in mind. Most of them might be obvious but to even refreshing “obvious” ideas can give us the mental and emotional warmth and peace to go out there and fight for a loving relationship.

 Here we go: 

Do not be afraid to wait to meet someone face to face until you feel you can develop a confidence and a safe environment with them.

When you do choose to go out on a date, choose a place you know. It could be a place close to your apartment in case of a quick getaway or even an event where you know you will have people you know around you. Do not waste nervous energy on the environment. Give yourself a chance to focus your energy on the person in front of you. 

If you are nervous about dating or do not feel safe enough to meet someone face to face for the first time, maybe invite them to a friend’s party or a concert. Having a chance to meet someone without having the pressure of a tete-a-tete will give you a chance to feel safer.

When you go out on a date, tell someone where you will be. Especially if you decide to go home with someone. Maybe pin someone with an account of your location or tell a friend the name of the person you are going home with. Find my Friends or Life360 is also extremely helpful in these cases. You could even share the person’s dating profile with a friend. 

Develop some sort of code with a friend. Do not take a rescue call or text for granted. It is ok for first dates not to work out.

Get your own drinks. It is very easy to try to seem friendly or make it clear you are interested by accepting a drink. If they want to buy you a drink, go with them to the bar. Tell them you are not sure what you want and would like to go take a look at the choices or that you want to take a look at the selection of *insert liquor name here*. Watch the drink be poured. Never accept a drink that is already poured. 

Do not be afraid or ashamed to go home alone. Success in a date does not necessarily mean sex. It can also be a call the next morning or a text or even a second date.

 Most important of all (after doing everything you can to create a safe environment and only when you feel completely safe with the person you are with): give the date a chance. Online dating is new and scary, but if you let it, it can be a wonderful thing. And it is a wonderful thing for a relationship, or a friendship or even a hookup. Just be a nice person. Be honest and clear with the person you are talking to, meeting, dating and tell them what you want. It is not mandatory to want a serious relationship when dating, but I believe it should be mandatory to be honest. 

Be happy. Whatever that might mean for you. After all, that is what dating should be driven by. And if you are happy being single, if that is what makes you feel safe, then do not be afraid to use these sites to develop friendships. Create a book club or find people to go to that new play/restaurant/wine bar with. Just be you, be happy and be safe. 

Top 5 Rules for Happy Online Dating 

 by Olga Gonzalez Latapi

Here are some basic rules for a happy relationship or even a happy friendship. Truth is, online “dating” apps do not have to be for hookups or romance anymore. These next rules are important for anyone looking for any kind of connection from these wonderful apps:

1. Be a Person: Seem obvious or even a little bit stupid? Maybe. But really, many problems between people is because we forget that we all are the same species and no matter how different we may seem. we come from the same place. We all love in our own way and we all want to be happy. So just, be a human being and you will receive the same. 

2. Do a Bit of Research: Yes, many of us love surprises. But part of those surprises should not be the stranger you are meeting. Especially if you are meeting them at a strange place too. If the date or friend you have decided to see face to face does not have any sort of online presence or indication that they exist outside of the dating app, maybe you should consider not meeting them. 

3. Sit and Think: The beauty of online dating is time. Take your time to think about what you want and the app will serve you best. This extends to how you use your profile, your profile picture and when (and how often) you meet someone face to face. 

4. Be Yourself: I know it is not my place to tell you how to manage your own profile, but truth be told I believe better results will reach you if you go into online apps with honesty in your heart. Be clear to yourself as to what you want to achieve and use a profile picture that reflects that. After all, that is the first thing that people respond to. 

5. Don’t Let it Consume your Life: Yes, online dating is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, but keep living your life! It does not have to be the main thing in your life. You will get the best results if you let it be something that will add to your life and enrich your relationships. 

6. (Extra Rule): Just let it be fun! 

You matter!

by Janine S. White

In a world that has a global population of 7.7 billion people, it is highly probable that everyone is different and individual. Yet there are expectations placed upon each person to fit into certain behaviors. One of which is the belief that people will be heterosexual and that their gender identity will be the same as their biological sex at birth. 

What if this anticipation cannot be reached? What if there was a chromosomal mix up? What if someone can not be what is intended, no matter how hard they try?

With the prospect of being different, comes many difficulties emotionally and mentally. A lack of belonging, knowing that you are different. Unnecessary, yet guaranteed feelings of overwhelming guilt and shame. It is a fact that people who identify as queer are more likely to develop mental health disorders, often leading to suicidal tendencies. 

Research states that 52% of young LGBT people have self-harmed and 44% have considered suicide. When it comes to people who identify as trans, 3% have tried to take their own lives more than 10 times.

It is concerning that so many queer individuals are suffering so much with their mental health, when the causes can be prevented. Depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation are the consequences of being discriminated against and marginalized on a regular, if not daily basis. 

Just because you are queer though does not mean that you will automatically have mental health issues. Your previous experiences and resilience are the determining factors.

Research shows that the support a child receives as they are learning about themselves has a large impact on their resilience as a queer adult. For example, how their family and friends react to them coming out, the first sexual experience and the acceptance and support of the community. These are not things that can be changed overnight but with education, love and acceptance mental health issues can be lessened.

According to UK Government research, 55% of young LGBT students have experienced homophobic bullying, 36% of men have always hidden their sexualities and 1 in 6 have been the victim of hate crime over three years. With zero tolerance policies on bullying within schools, more hate crimes being acted upon and a widely held societal belief th