December 2021 :: Gift Guide

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OFM culture

OUT APP

Aims to Create Hub for LGBTQ Friendships, Queer Events, and More By Keegan Williams

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nna Harissis and Jen Farmer faced the same dilemma many others shared as the pandemic pressed on: Following months of isolation, especially as two people fresh to Denver, they were looking for a way to safely build their group of friends with other queer folks. Ironically, the two friends and business partners initially met on a dating app (though neither were necessarily looking to date), further highlighting the lack of an app explicitly for queer friendships.

Bumble is one app that started as a dating app before introducing a “BFF” component focused on friendship, which Harissis says, in her experience, can be hard to disconnect from. “I sometimes find myself swiping based on how I would (on the Bumble dating app), and I’m like, ‘Oh God,’ because it still has the dating app association. So, we wanted something that was totally removed—friendship focus— there’s no question what you’re coming to that for.” Farmer agrees, “I felt like, whether it’s true or not, they all kind of came across as dating apps first that are shifting toward friendship, and I’m seeing that across the board. Everyone, even the major brands, are trying to shift into

Thus, the Out App was born. The idea started as a series of hypothetical conversations. Farmer has a history working in growth marketing, while Harissis has a background in mental health advocacy, queer community building, and social work, and the pair finally decided, as innovative thinkers with entrepreneurial spirits, they could create something special.

“It’d be like, out yourself everywhere you go, basically sit alone at a bar and hope someone talks to you, or basically go on dating apps,” Farmer says. “It’s weird to be on a dating app for friends only and then there’s all these—you hang out with someone, and they actually want to hook up and it’s like, ‘Well, I was actually looking for friends.’”

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Photos courtesy of Out App

Farmer points out that, as of right now, queer folks looking to expand their community are often limited to two options that regularly end up with more wasted time than new friends.