And I’ve experienced this from both men and queer women, so it’s not really a gendered thing.” Jaime Woo, author of the book , says he never realized how much race matters in the dating world until he started advertising himself online.
“I never really thought of race as a first step in terms of who I am,” he says.
He thumbs through other guys’ profiles and sees warnings like “No Asians.” Fellow users sometimes ask him, “Do you smell like curry? ” When he responds, “India,” the conversation often ends there.
“I feel like there is a lot of stigma attached to being a gay person of colour in Toronto,” Chaudhury says. I internalize it and think maybe there’s something wrong with me.
Over time, I start believing these negative things.
I think, I’m South Asian and it’s not a good thing.” Chaudhury has lived in Canada for almost three years, and, in that time, he’s never been turned down face-to-face because of his race.
But like so many other gay guys in Toronto, the recent George Brown grad desires a boyfriend, or at least the chance to meet someone new.
So Chaudhury goes on Grindr, the notorious hook-up app, even though it means risking another hit to his self-esteem.
Muna Mire, a recent University of Toronto grad, was excited when she first joined the dating website Ok Cupid.But when guys asked for a corresponding face pic and discovered Woo is Asian, he got blocked, meaning the exchange was over.She advertised herself to men and women and started sending messages to both.What Mire got in response surprised her: a few curt responses saying, “Sorry, I’m not that into black girls.” Then she noticed people pointing out the same thing in their profiles, too, right next to preferences like “Must love dogs” and “No smokers, please.” “It’s jarring that someone would write you off as a person without even getting to know you,” Mire says. It’s a matter of the door being closed to you as a human being based on something completely arbitrary.
Then he discovered that his white friends get two to three times more responses on Grindr than he does.
One day, Woo switched his profile photo from a face picture to a headless torso shot (not uncommon on Grindr) and his response rate spiked.