By Shauna Mazenes
If you’re searching for 10 Signs That They Really Are That Into You Because You’re Too Nervous to Simply Ask, Google only might have your back. The truth is, the majority of these columns, the Ask Sally’s and Agony Aunts of the world, provide advice that’s exclusively straight.
For decades there has been a lack of representation of queer and trans communities in the media. According to Erica Lenti, a senior editor at Daily Xtra, Toronto’s leading LGBTQ2 online magazine, queer representation is so important because it acknowledges the hardships that many people face, while simultaneously celebrating the inclusion of marginalized communities.
For that reason, we can’t pretend straight people are the only ones who have relationship problems. So here’s a list of the best resources for LGBTQ2IA+ dating and relationship advice.
Ask Kai is a column by Xtra, dedicated to providing advice to queer and trans communities. Managed by Kai Cheng Thom, a trans woman of colour with a background in social work, the column acts as a survival guide for what can feel like an apocalyptic world if you’re queer.
Ask Kai provides an honest and comforting hand to queer people who need well-informed advice about not just sex and love, but also the realities of living outside of antiquated gender and sexual norms.
“Kai isn’t here to laugh at anybody, Kai isn’t here to take these questions for granted. She treats every question with compassion and heart,” says Lenti.
Kai acknowledges that sometimes people can be quick to “cancel” someone when they ask a complicated or difficult question, but it’s important to take the time to lean in and answer questions with care. This is especially given that “queer and trans folks experience trauma in ways that people outside of those communities haven’t.”
Some things people ask Kai about include: The guy I’m dating is really into trans women– is it love, or a fetish? and, I came out as non-binary and the people in my life are struggling to understand. How do I seek acceptance for my identity while advocating for my own needs?
“[Kai] brings this great sense of compassion and humanity that I don’t think we see a lot of in not just advice columns in general, but particularly in queer communities,” Lenti says.
Also put together by Xtra, Love Like Mine showcases the “messy, the all-consuming and the complexities of queer love in all its forms.” Whether it’s coming out over and over again to a grandparent with Alzheimers or coming out as trans in a heterosexual relationship, this section doesn’t shy away from anything. It is raw, complicated, authentic and unconventional—it’s love.
Autostraddle is an independent online magazine designed for queer women and non-binary communities, with a massive following from all over the world. They have a variety of columns and round-table discussions as well as a few advice sections dedicated not only to sex and relationship advice for queer people, but also other complicated issues, like falling in love with your therapist or not being able to achieve an orgasm in your relationship.
In terms of lighter reads, Autostraddle also publishes queer tarot readings and horoscopes. They also have a separate forum where anyone can write in and express their advice on their successful and unsuccessful experiences with love and relationships, titled “Take It From Us: Our Best-Ever Queer Dating Advice,” in the Sex + Relationships section.
¡Hola Papi! is an online advice column by John Paul Brammer. The column, formerly published in Them and Out magazines and now hosted on Substack, responds to anonymous letters addressed to Papi from around the world asking for queer-specific advice.
In an interview with Bitch magazine, Brammer said the column originally started as a spoof of the traditional advice column, but quickly became serious as real questions started pouring in. This is when he realized how underserved the queer community is in advice columns, he said.
Now, there’s no question too great or scary for Papi–some recent topics include heartbreak, loneliness and even spirituality. “If you’ve ever wanted advice from a Twitter-addled gay Mexican with anxiety, here is your chance,” Brammer writes.
Tea with Auntie is a bi-weekly advice column published by Her, a queer dating app “for queer womxn, by queer womxn” (the x signifying the inclusion of those outside the gender binary). The column provides a space for LGBTQ2IA+ womxn to ask for specific advice on a range of topics including dating, relationships and family.
They tackle some real substance here, such as dealing with homophobic in-laws, falling in love with friends and getting played by someone you love.