Sex, race and online dating

18 February 2011

Sex and race and how they interact on dating sites is the subject of a panel discussion presented by the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.

There is a rise of online dating sites for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people including Gaydar and Manhunt.

Similarly there are new devices allowing easy access to partners, such as the networking application Grindr which makes use of geolocation, to enable users to access other gay and bisexual men within close proximity.

These technologies all mean that people have the convenience to pick and choose sexual partners with the click of a button.

Along with the promised convenience of these sites has come criticism of the ways in which participants express their sexual preferences. People are increasingly categorising their preferences or themselves in terms of their 'race'.

Andy Quan and Tim Mansfield, creators of the website Sexual Racism Sux, and Senthorun Raj and Gilbert Caluya, young scholars and activists, lead this session about the increasingly volatile world of online dating.

Senthorun Raj is a University of Sydney student currently studying for a Bachelor of Laws degree. He has been the Senior Policy Advisor for the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby since September 2009, as well as the Vice President of Amnesty International Australia since May 2008.

The discussion will include:

  • How are participants encouraged to express their sexual preferences online, and with what effects?
  • How are racialised subjects responding to these dynamics?
  • How new are these dynamics anyway?

Event details

When: 12.30pm, Saturday 19 February

Where: Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre

Cost: $15, student concessions $12, as well as members of New Mardi Gras through the Seymour Centre.

The session is part of Queer Thinking, a day of events at the Seymour Centre to launch the 2011 Mardi Gras Season.

Media enquiries: Verity Leatherdale, 9351 4312, 0419 278 715,