After a Maltese man opened up about being catfished and beaten in Sliema, one of the island’s leading LGBTIQ+ rights groups has shared advice on what to do if you get into these situations, and how best to avoid them.
“These stories happen more often than we think we know, and yet they go unreported because many times there are issues of shame, not wanting to disclose their sex life, with some probably still in the closet in some spheres of their lives and a lack of trust that action will be taken by the police,” Clayton Mercieca, community manager at Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC), told Lovin Malta.
The story of a gay Maltese man who was flirting with someone on dating app Grindr only to end up with injuries to his face has shed a spotlight on unseen homophobic attacks on the island. While there are a number of protections for the LGBTIQ community on the island, sometimes they aren’t enough.
“We urge anyone using dating apps to be extra vigilant when meeting others,” ARC advised while sharing the advice.
Here are some tips to make dating over apps safer according to ARC:
1. Exchanging photos is not enough.
Users may be using other people’s photos or use stock images downloaded from the internet. We therefore recommend you exchange numbers or shift your conversation to another social media account that shows the profile is not a fake one.
2. If the person you’re talking to is sounding dodgy, avoiding giving information or just sounding mysterious…
It’s probably better to avoid meeting that person.
3. Ideally, inform a friend or someone you can trust that you’ll be meeting someone new.
Give them the meeting location, too.
4. Before actually meeting for a good time, have a chat over coffee, at a bar or somewhere in a public place.
Don’t just jump right into any address they give you.
5. Keep in mind that if the person in the photo looks too good to be true…
…then it is probably a fake account.
6. Always carry a condom with you and insist on using it.
Even if they say they are on PrEP – other STDs are on the rise.
7. Many people on dating apps are hiding their identities for a reason.
Avoid making contact with them, if possible.
8. It’s ok to take back your consent at any point of your meeting with the other person.
Don’t feel like you need to do anything for them – you decide what you will or will not do.
Do you have any other tips that could come in useful? Let us know in the comments below