“Gay dating” is the most-Googled term in rural areas across the UK – that’s according to a group which has been investigating trends among people looking for love and relationships online.
The number of people using Google to search for “gay dating” and “lesbian dating” in rural and more sparsely populated areas such as Cornwall and Shropshire is much higher than the average for the UK, says dating and relationships website Datingroo.
In typically LGBTQ-friendly areas such as London and Manchester these terms are searched for no more frequently than any other dating-related term.
More than one million people identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual in the UK in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics – that equates to around 2% of the entire population.
The numbers from this Datingroo study show that homosexuals are much more driven to online dating than heterosexual people.
Researchers identified four significant reasons for LGBTQ+ people in rural areas tend to date online
- The lack of any “friendly places” in their area and the need for a safe place to open up and socialise with like-minded singles
- Conservative religious or personal beliefs in their community that lead to anxieties of being socially rejected because of sexual preferences
- Veiled or even open homo- or transphobia in their local community
- Toxic and exclusive structures in local gay communities. There can be discrimination, bullying or exclusion within these groups
Building an LGBTQ+ community in a more socially conservative or religious rural area can be challenging, so many people tend to look for gay and lesbian dating on the internet, explains Patrick Wanis, an expert on human behaviour.
“The easiest option for someone who is gay and living in a smaller area that isn’t as diverse, is to connect and interact with other likeminded people via online dating,” he says.
“Homosexual and bi-orientated people in the countryside can’t just go to the local bar or club and expect to meet other gay or bi-orientated people.
“For people in the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas it might even be physically safer to date online, as there is less chance of being confronted with hostility.”
He adds that it might also be a personal preference to stay anonymous after finding and connecting with other gay people in rural areas and small towns.
Agrespect – promoting diversity in agriculture
Agrespect was launched in 2018 to break down barriers by sharing experiences from a diverse range of people working in agriculture, including the LGBTQ+ community.
The initiative is backed by major industry brands and bodies, including the NFU, the AHDB, Massey Fergusson, Defra and Farmers Weekly.
Gay Farmer Helpline
Any farmer wishing to speak in confidence about their sexuality can call the helpline on 07837 931894 or get more information on the website.