What began as an Instagram account for sharing personal ads, Lex app is now the hot new dating and social platform for lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and queer people, but it’s doing things a little differently by focusing on text-based interactions over pictures, just like the personal ads in the back of newspapers from yesteryear.

Though based in New-York, Lex is accessible worldwide on iOS and Android, allowing people to share their own ‘personal ad’, and filter others by age, location, and keywords such as “butch, bottom, pizza”. You can also search for usernames directly.

Previously known as Personals, Lex prides itself on its swipe-free and selfie-free online dating experience. This gives people a chance to post or scroll through in search of friends, lovers, or “missed connections”. Posts run for 30 days, with the remaining number of days shown at the top. Users can bookmark ads for later, or directly respond using the in-app messaging system.

Founder of the lesbian culture Instagram account @herstory, Kell Rakowski, began sharing images from women-run erotica magazine On Our Backs. The popularity of the personal ads inspired many to submit their own, and quickly grew to needing its own account. The community now has 65k followers on Instagram, and highlights its own success stories of queer love and friendships.

As part of its Kickstarter campaign last year, community members paid $5-$10 to post their personal ads, which the company says went towards funding the app.

Why is Lex selfie-free?

With a priority for a “healthy loving community”, Lex says it adheres to a zero tolerance policy towards “creeps”, transphobia, racism, fatphobia, and ableism. Something that other dating apps have come under fire for previously. Last year Grindr launched its Kindr Grindr campaign in response to the hate that infiltrated its app.

Unlike Jigtalk, which makes you chat to unlock your matches photo, Lex doesn’t offer a profile photo option at all. What it does offer is the option to publicly connect your Instagram to your profile.

Nevertheless, considering the swipe-culture of Tinder, perhaps a text-first, selfie-next format is what is needed to shift away from what is often considered to be the shallow failings of dating apps.

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