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He was lured to his death in a secluded park. In a pandemic, dating can be deadly for LGBTQ+ people

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.4%. 2 min read.

2F2Y580 Brussels, Belgium. 13th Mar, 2021. Lgbt protest after the homophobic murder of David P in Beveren which shocked the whole of Belgium (Credit Image: ?? Arnaud Brian via Wire) Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News

David P. was a 42-year-old gay man living in Beveren, Belgium. He worked as a crane operator, was loved by his family and friends and, a few weeks ago, he was found dead in an abandoned park.

Since lockdowns were imposed around the world when the pandemic took hold early last year, apps such as Grindr, Scruff and Her have have taken on a greater role in the LGBTQ+ community, as traditionally safe public LGBTQ+ spaces, such as gay bars, clubs and pubs, were forced to shut their doors.

With dating apps one of few available avenues for LGBTQ+ people to meet potential sexual and romantic partners during the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear just how few safeguards are in place to protect users.

If the disappearance of safe and public LGBTQ+ spaces wasn't enough to leave individuals feeling uneasy, this rise in open hostility towards the community has only added to the anxiety of having to depend on dating apps -- which so often involve speaking to total strangers -- in order to seek out intimacy.

Bjorn van Roozendaal, from ILGA-Europe, stresses that the combination of loneliness that lockdown brings and the current lack of access to familiar queer spaces is leading LGBTQ+ people to use dating apps far more frequently than before.

He feels that, while it's important these apps strive to help protect the community, the issue of LGBTQ+ people's safety runs deeper than simply seeking more effective measures from these spaces.

As Belgium grieves for David P. , and queer communities strive to find alternative ways to connect in these unprecedented times, advocates say the onus for keeping LGBTQ+ people safe lies with a range of institutions -- from dating platforms to politicians and the police.

Bonny believes politicians have a "responsibility to protect LGBTQ+ people as their rights are infringed upon. " If they work to uphold fundamental freedoms and tamp down rising homophobic rhetoric, then LGBTQ+ people are likely to feel safer as they navigate online dating spaces, he argues.

In the meantime, while these platforms and institutions must work to provide the LGBTQ+ community with more sufficient protection, Christian thinks people can find safety in queer dating outside of apps, even as the Covid crisis rages on.

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