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Frequently Asked Questions

This section is part of the GraduateRomance.org.uk online help system. (show contents). You can also view the entire document as a single very long page.

How does GraduateRomance support gender/courtship diversity?

Introduction: Falling in love is really hard and confusing, even for the people who fit into the the traditional "blue-for-boys; pink-for-girls" roles (if falling in love were easy, this site wouldn't need to be here at all!). But it is far more complex than that. The diversity spectrum is very great; some examples include:

  • Not everybody self-identifies strictly as "male" or "female" (known as "gender normativity"): there is a whole spectrum of masculinity and femininity, gender and sexuality.
  • Attraction is extremely complex, and fluid: there are at least 4 dimensions (Biological Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Sexual Orientation), and all of these are linear, rather than boolean. It's explained lucidly with this diagram of the Genderbread Person.
  • Different people have very different models of courtship, including those who are Trans* [transexual or transgender], Ace [asexual] or Poly [polyamorous]. Ace (non-sexual romantic) is not necessarily the same as Platonic (just friends)
  • Some Trans people identify with as "trans-and-{male,female}" while others identify as "trans-and-not{male,female}". The terminology for "conventional-{male,female}" is Cis-, while the common, but mistaken assumption that all people are either Male or Female in "standard" roles is known as heteronormativity.
  • Sometimes a person's boundaries and limits are very different to what might be expected... for example, a hug at the end of a date might be intimidating for certain people, though others would consider it usual.
  • People change over time, sometimes quite substantially. Not everyone is willing to reveal their inmost thoughts and feelings - sometimes they are shy, uncertain, fearful, or victimised.

Community: we want to be absolutely clear: everyone is welcome to use and participate in GraduateRomance.

  • The key points are understanding, communication, respect, tolerance, and kindness.
  • Please do observe the etiquette, and remember that, especially in a textual-medium, tone-of-voice is difficult to convey, and so if you have something you need to say, use your words to do it. If you do feel uncomfortable, say so: obviously, "stop" means "Stop!"
  • While it is completely wrong to discriminate against people on grounds of sex/sexuality, it is of course perfectly reasonable to select your choice of partner by these attributes - which brings many of these issues into much sharper focus: the best way to check one's own assumptions, and gain empathy is to consider philosopher John Rawls' veil of ignorance principle.
  • Lastly, please understand that wrong-assumptions are sometimes made, by other members of the site, and sometimes even by us, the authors of it: if we get things wrong, help us to see through your eyes.

Userguide: if your situation is uncommon, then please don't be offended by the (over-)simplification of some of the categories. Please pick the nearest match, then use the free-text part of your profile to explain more about who you are and what it is that you seek. You will probably want to use these settings (on the edit/settings page), in order:

  1. Sex: pick the nearest match (male/female) as a "base-class", then follow the profile-creation wizard. [Note that the base-class cannot be unset (this is a technical limitation), but it can be overridden.]
  2. Seeks: choose male,female,either; useful for straight/gay/bi people, defines the main 6 categories available in list and search.
  3. Gender: choose free-text names for how you identify and what you are looking for. "I am: ___ seeking ___".
  4. Category: {Cis, Trans_AND, Trans_XOR}. For trans people, this can override the {sex,seeks}category above:
    • Cis: "I wish to be categorised according to the setting of {sex,seeks} above."
    • Trans (AND): "I wish to be listed both as 'other' and under {sex,seeks}. My trans-ness is a part of my "[fe]maleness".
    • Trans (XOR): "I wish to be categorised only within 'other'. I reject {sex,seeks} as inappropriate for me."
    • Trans (≡): "I am trans and wish to be recognised as {sex,seeks}, not other". → Select the 'Cis' option.
      [Note that this is a choice of your identity, not biology, so the 'Cis' option includes both "I am cis" and "I am trans and wish to be recognised as {sex,seeks}, not other". People in the latter category are choosing not to distinguish themselves from the former, so we don't draw an internal technical distinction either.]
  5. Pronouns: change the pronouns we use about you. E.g. "Name has set xyr photo to be private".
  6. Relationshiptype/Looking-for: what relationship you seek. Helpful for Ace (asexual) and Poly (polyamorous) people.
  7. How-to-date-me: explain your own needs and desires. Useful for Survivors who may wish to establish different norms.
  8. Profile text: everything else, including your personality and interests. Not everything in romance is to do with gender :-)
  9. Privacy and anonymity: if you are not "out", we will protect your privacy/identity as well as we can.

Technical: When Cupid originally wrote the site many years ago, he didn't know or understand sufficiently. Therefore, we have some outstanding bugs which we are working through. This technical section may also be of use to explain exactly how and why it works as it does. We ask for your understanding and patience. If you have a suggestion for how we could/should do this better, please do tell us. We do try to do the right thing; if we fail, it is because we need help to see better though the eyes of others.

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