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The explosion of online dating has given academic researchers an unprecedented opportunity: to analyze vast troves of digital data to tell a fuller story on how humans, in this moment in time, are approaching the dating game.
New research from Australia sheds light on what online daters are actually looking for, and how those criteria dynamically evolve as they age.
Winter La Mon is a 28-year-old transgender man who lives in New York City.
He joined the online dating site OKCupid six years ago, about three years before he transitioned.
But, as that highly educated cohort ages, they care less about how much schooling a potential mate obtained.
Less educated daters show the opposite trend: they tend to care more about connecting with those of the same education level as they get older.
In 2013, an online petition asking OKCupid to accommodate trans and genderqueer people received more than 1,000 signatures.
Ryley Pogensky, the genderqueer person who created the petition, said that when he asked OKCupid about adding more gender identity options, a representative told him it would be difficult to change the site because it was built “in a pretty binary way.” La Mon has noticed that his male and female OKCupid profiles get different matches.
La Mon prefers to be out about his gender with potential dates.
He thinks people will figure it out anyway when they meet him.
Sleidi said that she is "very gay," and some of her transgender friends are uncomfortable using OKCupid.
From the beginning, she knew it was important to allow people to identify as queer and transgender in their profiles.
This has the potential to make online dating more thorough and more fruitful, but safety and acceptance for trans people who date online may take more than an algorithm.