Logging onto a gay app looking for friends these days is a little like playing Russian Roulette: There is a one in six chance the first message you receive will be of an eggplant and not the cartoony emoji kind. 

Local Houstonian Ruben Jauregui, Jr. created GayBFF, a social media app aimed at connecting LGBTQ people and their allies through a platform that is specifically devoted to finding friendship and not hooking up or dating. 

Jauregui Jr. says the idea came to him from speaking with a younger friend who was having a hard time coming out in a small town. After doing some research, he found there was a void in apps designated to the LGBTQ community looking for just friends. 

“I feel like we need to create communities and safe places for LGBTQ people who may not know exactly who they are just yet,“ says Jauregui Jr. “Especially in a world that can sometimes be alienating and lonely.”

The app works a lot like current apps such as Tindr or Bumble Users create a profile adding likes, a photo, and other information, and the app matches them with similar users. Then if both users swipe left, a message is sent and they can begin chatting. 

“I wanted to give people some safety in how they get messages instead of a Grindr-like style where anyone can message without you knowing their real intentions,” says Jauregui Jr. 

Jauregui Jr. hopes GayBFF will provide support for LGBTQ youth just looking to find more people like themselves. 

“Just like our tagline says, a safe place to create meaningful relationships.“ says Jaregui Jr. 

GayBFF is available for download on iOS and Android.