Graphic by Samantha N. Olson. Photo by The Gender Spectrum Collection.
Whether in the media or the products we purchase, most Valentine’s Day content we consume disregards representation and centers around heterosexual relationships. This holiday comes with strong brand connections to colors, images and emotions; which means we might think of chocolate, red, and romance when someone talks about Valentine’s Day.
But this also means we think of movies like “The Notebook” or “A Walk to Remember,” both featuring heterosexual couples. There are rarely romantic movies that feature LGBTQ+ relationships and even less have happy endings. While “Moonlight” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire'' are incredibly beautiful and well-made, it’s also important to see LGBTQ+ happiness and love that works out in the end.
Even as I write this article and desperately try to find movies that give us representation and happy endings, the list is so small; it’s disheartening. We want to celebrate ourselves and those we care for during this time, but it’s difficult to do that when so much of what we absorb is focused on the struggles of being LGBTQ+ and straight couples.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that should represent all forms of love — romantic, platonic and of the self. Plenty of people a part of the queer community are finding ways to mold the holiday into a form that fits their version of what happiness, acceptance, and devotion is to them. This could mean having a group of friends over and making ugly chocolate or cherishing a partner by planning a special date. There are many ways to honor and respect this part of ourselves during Valentine’s Day while still having fun.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday
that should represent all
forms of love — romantic,
platonic and of the self.
1. Shop Within the Community and its Allies
Support businesses that promote and create products for those a part of the LGBTQ+. Shopping responsibly and recognizing people that do their best within a system that doesn’t always value them is important in our society. Buying gifts and treats from those trying their best to showcase themselves openly is always a great option. Try shopping from stores like TomboyX, Fluide and Pumkinfish.
2. Get Sexy, Ethically Sourced and Queer Friendly Toys
The sex industry is a massive issue for women and members of the LGBTQ+. By objectifying and illegally producing material that harms the individuals and the communities, it’s incredibly important to buy products that uphold quality and morality. Some places to shop at are Sugar, Babeland and Enby.
3. Volunteering Your Time
There are plenty of organizations across cities that focus on specific aspects of the queer community that you’re able to volunteer at. From homeless LGBTQ+ youth to counseling centers, there are always people that you can give back to in your area. Try looking into non-profit organizations that might be interested in your help.
4. Celebrate the People Around You
Photo by The Gender Spectrum Collection
All the previous suggestions are important, but what really connects everything together is the love you have for yourself and how it spreads to others around you. If we can just make changes within ourselves to be more accepting and open, our community will continue to grow and influence greater amounts of people. Try sending cards to your friends, family, and partner to let them know how much they mean to you. And then make sure to write one to yourself, so that you’re reminded of how important you are.
Valentine’s Day is a perfect time of year to share those feelings that you’ve kept inside for so long. Expressing your true self can be scary, but the queer community is one of the most accepting in the world. If anything, we are the embodiment of love and it’s time to celebrate how important we are to society and ourselves.