Bloom Is A Safe Place For Queer Folks

Gay Dating

Bloom Is A Safe Place For Queer, Non-Monogamous, And Artistic Folks To Connect

Lexi Inks

Written by: Lexi Inks

Lexi Inks

Lexi joined the DatingAdvice team with years of lifestyle journalism experience. She grew her writing prowess through reporting on the topic of sex and relationships, and she loves continuing to cover this niche content while working toward becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator. You can find Lexi's writing in Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Well + Good, and Women's Health, among other publications.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: If you fall under categories like “artist,” “relationship anarchist,” “kinky,” or any orientation under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, it’s likely that you’ve felt alienated by your identity at some point or another. What are just edge-of-culture lifestyles and interests are often seen as weird or wrong by people who simply don’t understand them. To push back against this “othering” narrative, Bloom Community seeks to include and welcome anyone living an alternative lifestyle by creating community and gathering like-minded folks together. 

Forming a community among like-minded people is one of the best things you can do to have a fulfilling social life. While it’s also a good idea to surround yourself with friends who are different from you — those who can teach you new perspectives and ways of living — having those core communities to call “home” can really provide a safe and understanding place for you to embrace your whole self. 

I loved so much of the experience I had growing up as an artistic child. Getting to perform, create, collaborate, and make new friends with similar interests really boosted my confidence and helped shape me into the woman I would eventually become. On the other hand, being a creative young person did, at times, make me feel “othered” in some ways. After all, not everyone loves the idea of breaking into song and dance while walking down the hallway to math class. 

Group of queer friends smiling in a restaurant and taking a selfie
Having friends who can relate to your experiences makes all the difference in life.

Luckily, that feeling of “otherness” faded as I became a more self-assured adult, but in some aspects it was replaced by other characteristics of my identity. Coming out as a queer woman in my mid-20s and later entering into a polyamorous relationship certainly had an impact on how the people in my life perceived me, and it caused some discomfort in certain situations and connections I had with a few of them. All of the different communities I was a member of — many of them considered alternative lifestyles — not only shaped how I saw the world, but also how I was seen by it. 

A few years have passed since then, and I’ve now come to truly understand the importance of my connections with people who share similar worldviews and how those relationships fulfill me. I feel less alone in my identity, for one, and I also feel like I have so many others who can empathize with the way things like my sexual orientation, creative pursuits, and even chosen relationship style impact my life and the struggles that sometimes come with them. 

I know that I am very blessed to have had the time and resources needed to find and join these groups of people. Sometimes it takes a lot of searching and feelings of isolation before many others are able to do the same. Noa Elan, the CEO of Bloom Community, understands this experience well. Her decade as a member of the ethical non-monogamy community in Oakland, California, and her professional duties as an executive building massive brands like Lyft and Adobe taught her much about how best to bring people together — and now Bloom does just that. 

Alternative Doesn’t Feel So Alternative

Being queer and a member of the polyamory community can be a beautiful thing. I have had so many incredible folks who can relate to me and support me through any situation relating to our lifestyle. But having the ways we live labeled as “alternative” always threw me for a loop. After all, isn’t that just another way of “othering” people who don’t live the same way the average person does?

Bloom is a platform that seeks to combat that sentiment.

Bloom logo
Bloom makes people who follow alternative relationship styles feel less alone.

While, sure, people who practice ethical non-monogamy or who work as a freelance artist for a living aren’t necessarily in the majority, they deserve to have their identities validated just as much as the next person. Bloom does this by providing a welcoming, inclusive space for these groups to connect and create. Rather than serve as yet another app made for ENM, kink, and LGBTQ+ folks to date and hook up, Bloom fosters a sense of togetherness that is totally unique — and totally awesome.

Many dating apps, even those for edge-of-culture lifestyles, follow essentially the same formula when it comes to features and settings. You can set your gender and orientation, what you’re looking for, and certain criteria for your search. Most of these sites allow you to use your location and age preferences to narrow down your dating pool and start swiping

On Bloom, dating looks a bit different. As you build your profile, the app encourages you to dig a little deeper by providing a space for your bio and information about your interests and things you enjoy, what you’re looking for, and even a space where you can tell other users what you want them to ask you about — the things you could talk to a wall about, those passions that light you up. 

You have the ability to note if you’re looking for a kink partner, what gender identities you like to connect with, your pronouns, and even if you’re just wanting to see where things go as you meet new people. These inclusive settings help to make anyone using the app seen and appreciated for who they are and who they love, regardless of how society at large may feel.

Bloom Brings People Together

Although Bloom does provide features for those looking to meet new dating or play partners, the core of Bloom Community are its events. Bloom provides a space for both in-person and virtual events for any purpose you can think of. People from each community and identity Bloom serves can find a gathering relevant to their unique needs, from online workshops about navigating the intersection between sexuality and ADHD to lessons about the history and culture behind Shibari.

Bloom screenshots
Bloom’s events are designed to connect people of similar lifestyles and interests.

Wellness enthusiasts, kink fanatics and tantric yoga practitioners alike can find events and workshops that cater to their interests. There are upcoming events about spanking for beginners and even a session on detaching religious trauma from your sexuality. Plenty of these workshops, lessons, and celebrations are held in-person in large cities across the country, but there are even more virtual events that allow any Bloom users access from the comfort of their own home. 

Bloom’s events are not only accessible and inclusive, but they also provide a unique opportunity for people of edge-of-culture communities to find their “people.” There are many cases where these gatherings are the only instance when someone may feel like they can interact with others who share their background or lifestyle. Especially for those users who live in smaller towns or places where these lifestyles and relationships are seen as taboo, the wide array of virtual events give them a chance to feel seen and appreciated for who they are and where they’re at. 

Community Inspires Connection

As someone who was raised in the Southern church and raised to follow a certain life path, I could not be farther from many of the principles I was taught from a very young age. That said, I am quite satisfied and fulfilled by the woman I have become over the years — and the communities that apps like Bloom foster are largely to thank. 

As I signed up for my own Bloom account, I noticed just how many incredible and niche events there were for me to attend. The workshop on debunking sexual myths taught by religious trauma certainly caught my eye, as did those about ADHD & sexuality and building secure attachment in relationships. All of these topics relate directly to experiences I have had myself, and I know that thousands of other users can relate. 

According to Noa, people who regularly attend events on Bloom are 10 times more likely to match with other users than people who simply use Bloom for its swiping feature. There are plenty of reasons this could be the case: Those who attend these events, whether locally or virtually, will likely have some things in common. Not only that, but Noa explained that Bloom’s events are designed to allow conversation and connection before, during, and afterward. 

Diverse group of friends at a picnic with one playing guitar
Bloom’s events inspire people in edge-of-culture lifestyles to form community.

At the time of this writing, Bloom has reached the exciting milestone of over 12,000 events posted since its inception — meaning users have had over 12,000 opportunities to engage with each other and form the kind of new relationships they seek. 

As Noa said, while the swiping feature on Bloom is undeniably inclusive and useful for anyone wanting to connect on an individual basis, real community is formed during those events. The kind of connection and sense of togetherness that they create is what really drives personal transformation — which inspires real change in the world. 

Speaking as a person who identifies with a lot of the social groups Bloom seeks to represent, when we are able to feel connected and seen for exactly who we are, we feel ready to ignite those same feelings of inclusion and appreciation in others. This is what makes the world a better place: compassion born from community.