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Plus, gay bars provide a place for the queer community to raise awareness of issues that might affect it, or to hold fundraisers and events for its causes and organizations.

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For some, the decline of the gay bar isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it provides new opportunities for connection in more diverse settings. It's a sign of acceptance.

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I'm drawn to mixed venues, where revelers have access to a safe space and the prospects of an evening out hold more surprise. Jay says that gay dating apps have been central to his sexual life since he first came out of the closet.

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I took to online dating as a way of learning a little more about people before I would meet them. I came to learn that expectations were counterproductive, and began to accept these apps for what they were—a meeting space where anything is possible. But for some gay men, apps haven't proven to the best place to build meaningful social networks or make friends.

Mark Asbury, a year-old American PhD student who moved to Australia on a student visa without any queer friends in , says he's found it easier to kindle friendships on sites like Meetup , which can connect users with local LGBTQ groups.

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But he has established a group of gay friends through groups dedicated to queer meditation, gaming and non-sexual, all-gender nudist nights. Others find gay bars irrelevant, if anything, in our digital age. Buckell said that for men who grew up in the pre-internet age and are used to the subcultures of traditional gay bars, it takes some adjusting to orient oneself to dating app culture.

But there's some room to wriggle around if you want to make friends—you just have to know how to create it," he said. Some worry that when gay bars are lost, opportunities for spontaneous interaction between subsets of the LGBTQ community are lost with them.

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It's more of a concern for me that the only gays portrayed in media are white, athletic-looking role models , and that that idea of beauty and attraction might be compounded further when people are using these apps," he said, referring to app filters. Critics have pointed out the problematic nature of such options. Tsang said he uses apps to make friends, date and find sex all the same. But at the same time, he elaborated that he's experienced his share of racism through both apps and gay bars—and that at least the former can help filter out those racists. An app user once "claimed that because of my ethnicity, I should have been happy that someone was paying attention to me," he said.

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On the other hand, "I'm bi, and never feel percent complete comfortable in a gay bar, because I'm usually being cruised by 'rice queens' at the urinals, or find that people have no interest in me based on my ethnic background. Apps do help equalize ethnic barriers, as both parties in certain apps can filter out what they like and dislike. For Dani Weber, a year-old genderfluid drag performer and activist who spent the past 18 months working as a LGBTQ tour guide in San Francisco, gay dating apps are "awesome new places of social connection.

I love them!

The Sydney Morning Herald

A location-aware iPhone app has spawned a sexual revolution in Australia's gay community by providing what is effectively a meat market enabling people to meet other gay men who may be just metres away from them. In bars, restaurants or just walking down the street, users of the Grindr application can fire it up and see a list of other gay men in their area sorted by how far away they are. They can choose to start up a chat through the app or walk over and say hi. The app, which uses the phone's GPS to pinpoint users, has taken Australia by storm with Sydney and Melbourne placing fifth and ninth on Grindr's list of top cities.

It has about , local users, making Australia the third largest Grindr community behind the US and Britain.

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Grindr has more than , users around the world and is growing at new users a day, with its popularity skyrocketing after British TV personality Stephen Fry mentioned it on Top Gear. Joel Simkhai, 33, who lives in Los Angeles and launched Grindr in March last year, said in a phone interview that his goal was to have the app in the pocket of every gay man in the world. It solved a key problem: A recent survey of Australians conducted by research firm TNS found 65 per cent of Australians were keen to start using location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare , but only 10 per cent were interested in such apps for dating.

The research found that location-based services were set to explode, with fears for security and privacy outweighed by the perceived benefits of the technology. Compared with regular internet dating, Simkhai said Grindr was far more immediate and facilitated more real-world connections, avoiding frustrating email ping-pong.