An Inclusive Mobile App That Will Change Online Dating

Folks, you've heard from women-led startups that we've interviewed over the last couple months who participated in the Women's Startup Challenge, including Mina's List, Kicker, On Second Thought. Queery is the latest in our series.

My team and I interviewed Queery Founder Hayley Thayer about the LGBTQ mobile app. In 2014, Thayer founded and incubated Queery in a graduate communication course in intimacy and technology with the aim of disrupting online dating experiences.

We asked Thayer a few questions, and here's what we found out:

Tell us a little about Queery:
  • Queery is a location-based mobile dating app that caters to the variety of identities and preferences in the 21st century. By providing a simple set of scales that represent Gender, Sex, and Sexuality, Queery allows users to customize their identities and account for the wide range of their dating preferences.
How does Queery work?
  • Users will be able to customize their identities along four scales that represent various facets of human identity. Next, Queery users will specify a range of acceptable identities they prefer in a potential match along those same scales. People will only be matched with other Queery users in their area whose identities fall into their specified ranges. In this way, we are providing a truly customizable and inclusive mobile dating experience.
Why did you found Queery, what was the need you were fulfilling?
  • Queer and LGBT people lack a space in the mobile dating world. Constraining gender, sex, and sexual orientation binaries require people to identify as women or men, female or male, gay or straight. People who identify between these categories are either forced to choose or are excluded entirely. In 2014, OKCupid attempted to solve this problem by introducing more gender and sexual orientation identifiers for matching its users. However, this solution becomes problematic because OKCupid's algorithm will have to keep up with an ever changing lexicon.
  • At Queery, we plan to harness the power of the hashtag to facilitate connection. Rather than providing pre-set labels for our users, we want our community to dictate to us which labels most accurately reflect who they are. Users can add as many hashtags to their profiles as they like, which makes them searchable to other users. For example, if I am attracted to people who identify as androgynous, I can search #androgynous to find the people near me who use that label. In this way, Queery is truly able to accurately account for and to serve its community.
How will Queery help change online dating?
  • At Queery, we value inclusivity through customization. Our users will find a home in a dating app that facilitates connection without forcing social conformity. Queery provides a liberated environment for people with a wide range of identities to connect in a digital space.
What has been the biggest challenge in founding Queery?
  • Queery is still in the idea stage as a company. This means, we are still trying to spread awareness and raise the funds to design a prototype to bring to investors and developers. The Women Startup Challenge by Women Who Tech helped us raise almost $2K in less than a month, however the biggest challenge now is going to be reaching out to people outside of our immediate network of supporters.
What does a day life of a Queery founder look like?
  • I work for a tech PR firm, so throughout the day I have a steady media diet of tech publications like TechCrunch, Mashable and Huffington Post Tech. In the morning, I usually peruse Twitter and get updated on trending news in my community.
How can folks support you in your startup?
  • Donate to Queery through our CrowdRise campaign. Your donations will be used to build Queery's mobile application protoype.
  • You can sign up for our beta-testing list on our website and to stay updated for Queery events.
  • Share the link to our website and crowdfunding campaign on your social media platforms with the tagline "Meet great people. (Defy)ne Expectations. Support #Queery" and tag us in your posts!
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