Issue 11, Semester 1, 2019
Editor's note: The version of this article published here on this site contains revisions, and differs to the version released in print on Tuesday 21 May 2019.
For those not in the know, “unicorn hunters” are straight couples who create Tinder profiles to look for women for threesomes, and they are increasingly omnipresent in the modern queer dating landscape. Even people from this very law school make these profiles! I have seen them with my own deeply homosexual eyes. Virtually every queer millennial woman I know is familiar with this phenomenon, and I have yet to meet one who isn’t deeply annoyed by it. But are queer women justified in our negative feelings towards these people? Or are we sex-negative prudes, NIMBYs of the lesbian-internet-dating-world, narrow-mindedly pooh-poohing the expansion of sexual diversity and exploration? Friends: let’s discuss.
For me, the unicorn-hunter phenomenon is irritating because queer women are a marginalised group, and spaces created specifically for us to meet each other are under pressure or non-existent as a result of the marginalisation we face. Straight people coming into the few spaces that we have for ourselves—like the women-looking-for-women section of Tinder—feels deeply disrespectful.
There are limited spaces for queer women to meet each other in meatspace. While we’re fortunate to have a variety of queer events in Melbourne, no full-time venues exist for us, nocturnal or otherwise. This stems in large part from the intersection of homophobia and sexism: queer women tend to earn much less than a lot of other people, including gay men, which means we have less money to create, maintain and support such spaces. (And this is without even considering how other factors, like race or disability, can further exacerbate marginalisation.) While there are other ways to meet queers, these are usually restricted to specific interests, like queer-friendly sports clubs or queer book clubs.
Meeting queers online, outside of apps, is possible—but, again, it’s limited. There are Instagram pages and Facebook groups for this purpose, although these are usually limited to niche sub-sections of LGBTQ+ community. The comment sections of queer media are also good places for meet-cutes, but the existence of such media is constantly under threat. Multiple queer publications have folded over the past few years, including The Toast and The Establishment, as a result of not being able to monetise, partially because of advertisers’ unwillingness to sponsor queer female media. If they haven’t folded yet, they’re constantly on the brink of it, like Autostraddle. Most other queer publications have been severely cut back, like INTO and AfterEllen; are primarily print-based media, which don’t create the same opportunity for interpersonal connection; or have no comments sections. (Comments sections are often eliminated because they take a lot of resources to maintain and, again, we’re an under-resourced community.)
Naturally, we sometimes meet people outside of these situations—we connect in non-queer spaces, our friends set us up with each other, we anonymously comment on De Minimis articles. But we are still marginalised, and we are still a minority, which makes serendipitous encounters a lot more rare and difficult. Spaces that enable queer-specific connections, like WLW Tinder, are extremely important. (Nota bene: yes, there are dating apps specifically for queer female dating but they tend to have much fewer people, as they’re less well-known.)
There are other reasons to dislike unicorn hunters, including the fact that they sometimes perpetuate the long tradition of viewing queer female sexuality as existing purely for male gratification. Film and TV often portray our sexuality as being titillating and salacious: a classic example of this is the marketing that promoted the music group T.A.T.u. The pervasive desire for FFM threesomes perpetuates this idea: it seems (from these couples’ Tinder bios) that these threesomes are sometimes pursued because the man would find it hot to watch his girlfriend hook up with another woman. This is not very nice for queer women! We exist in our own right, not for your viewing pleasure.
If nothing else, these profiles are annoying because they engage in what is essentially misleading and deceptive conduct. Their profiles list them as a ‘woman looking for women’; often, it’s the woman alone in the photos, or at least in the first few; or only the very last line of the profile mentions they’re a couple. All of these things create an impression that is extremely untrue! You are not a woman. You are a woman and a man. At the absolute very least you could be upfront about this.
Of course straight couples can have FFM threesomes; of course queer women can partake in them. But why do you have to take this space from us, when we have so little to begin with? Just use threesome apps instead (like Feeld or 3Somer), be respectful of everyone involved, and, in the words of this reputable publication’s Managing Editor, stay the hell off my lawn.
Lara is a Third Year JD Student.