In my line of work, I'm often asked or encounter people who have difficulties meeting fellow LGBTQ+ people with the hope of finding a date and eventually a significant other or others.
It may come as a shocker to learn that by being the no.1 country with the best laws for LGBTQ+ individuals, doesn't make it any less hard to seek fellow individuals and form meaningful relationships. Don't forget we are only 10% of the population and in any heterosexual setting, we're alway in the minority, no matter how gay-friendly the place is.
I have been out of the dating scene for 10 years now but it doesn't mean I don't meet new people and spark interesting friendships and conversations. So I think I still have some tools in the shed that I'll happily share with you! In addition, I've asked people on my insta-stories to share their own tips.
P.S: Please bear in mind these are tips and not fool-proof truths. They might not apply for everyone
P.P.S: Also, I'd like to keep this a living & organic article. If you have some tips that you would like to share, feel free to send them on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update this article and you'll also be acknowledged.
So here it goes:
TIP #1 - Online Presence Helps (but not too much)!
Some of us are social media whores (guilty!) and others like to keep a low-profile. I guess this is a reflection of our personalities when it comes to the introversion/extraversion spectrum. I am a firm believer of moderation and for those who like to keep their private lives offline, it takes a huge effort to show your face to the world.
If you have a facebook profile without a profile picture of your face, you're already at a disadvantage. It comes with the name - Facebook needs a face to function properly. I get friend requests from people whose face is not shown anywhere and then you expect to be added? Up until a few months ago, I used to add everyone. Chats used to be weird and shady. Now I've become more selective and rejecting such requests was one of the easiest decisions ever.
You don't need to share every second of your life on facebook, but if you want to make yourself look interesting for any potential soulmate/s, keep it fresh, alive and interesting without oversharing. Keep it light with the selfies and don't even think of changing your profile pic every day - It's annoying...honestly.
Besides Facebook, I find instagram to be quite handy, especially for the gay community. Those #gay #instagay #malta and so on hashtags make miracles and make you an easy search result for anyone sharing the same tags. I use instagram for shameless selfies and successfully manage to strike a conversation or two from people either living in Malta or people visiting the island on a regular basis.
Don't share every pic on your instagram on facebook. Keep both separate to make people interested and wanting to check you out more often on both media.
TIP #2 - Seek like-minded online groups
Being on facebook alone is not enough if you want to meet fellow LGBTQ+ people in Malta. Luckily there are a number of decent online public/closed & secret facebook groups in Malta that offer a pool of LGBTQ+ members of all ages sharing events and opportunities for meet-ups.
In addition, there's a meet-up.com channel for LGBT+ in Malta available with events being posted regularly.
TIP #3 - Actually make an effort and turn up for events
I often hear and see online comments of LGBTQ+ people moaning and complaining that there aren't enough places in Malta where to go and hangout if you're gay. Ok, i'll give it to you that we just have one official gay bar in Malta and it's not everyone's cup of tea. But if you make an effort to check out the online groups in tip#2, you'll see that our gay scene in Malta goes beyond that and it's pretty active.
At Allied Rainbow Communities alone, we ensure to provide at least 1 alternative event a month which is not a clubbing event. If it takes too much effort to go on facebook and check what events are available, check our events calendar on the homepage of gaymalta.com where we make our very best to include all the lgbtq+ related events in one calendar.
One of my greatest job satisfactions is seeing people who turn up alone at our events and leaving the night with new friends. If you find it difficult to say hi to people, don't hesitate to approach me so I can introduce them to you. I'll do my best, but let chemistry take its course.
TIP #4 - A word about Grindr (or Tinder)
I have had my own experience of using Grindr and like any tool, it can be used with 'good' or 'bad' intentions. In my personal view, the people on Grindr take on a different persona than in real life. Everyone seems to be on 'predator' mode and leave little space to niceties and friendly chats. I did manage to strike some friendships from there but in most cases, it can be depressing because everyone's looking for the hottest bod from the lot, which makes the 95% of us feel like trash and unworthy.
Advice from 'Louis' about dating apps: Be more polite towards each other especially on dating apps, it's more meaningful in the long-run and you owe yourself that level of respect.
TIP #5 - Be Yourself (Tip by Stefan Varga)
Without a doubt, you have heard this time and time again. But I really believe this is a cardinal truth. Be yourself. From the very start. Never change for anything and anyone. You are perfect they way you are and when it’s meant to be, the right guy will like you the way you are right now. Don’t tone anything down. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable.
Because you want someone to fall in love with you not with the idea of someone who doesn’t exist. Yes many times there will not be a second date. Many times you’ll hear hurtful things and also might do hurtful things yourself to others, not intentionally. You will like someone in a way you “never felt before” but when it’s meant to be, the right person will be attracted to you. YOU. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea so accept these bad experiences graciously. Every bad date moves you forward to meeting the person who will knock your socks off. Good luck
TIP #6 - Volunteer for Malta Pride / Other LGBTQ+ Events
I've seen beautiful friendships blooming in volunteering and this applies as well in the Queer world. One practical way of volunteering is helping out at Malta Pride. But there could be other events that need a helping hand, so do not shy away from offering some of your time with any of the LGBTQ+ organisations in Malta.
Also, if you have a great idea for a project or event that you can take a lead in directed towards the LGBTQ+ community, do not hesitate to contact us at ARC to help you to make it happen!