What Valentine’s Day means to the LGBTQIA+ community 

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As Feb. 14 rolls around, so does the annual heteronormative standard of love during Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a big money maker for companies who tend to target straight couples as their primary audience. Gifts “For Her” and “For Him” are often seen, but what does this mean for queer couples and individuals? 

For transgender and nonbinary people, Valentine’s Day can bring about odd emotions. The commercial aspect of the holiday is highly gendered. It does not cater to those who do not conform to the gender binary. The same goes for queer couples. While Valentine’s Day may be marketed as a “straight” occasion, it doesn’t have to be.

Valentine’s Day can actually be very liberating for the queer community. It is a chance to show the world your true self, if you’re comfortable doing so. For queer couples, it is a chance to showcase queer love in all its forms. A potential idea for the day can be to visit your local LGBTQIA+ center and join any fun activities they may have planned. Often times, centers will have small events to celebrate holidays, providing a safe space for queer people to enjoy the festivities.

Another possible option can be a movie date. Valentine’s Day movies often feature straight couples, but there are a few LGBTQIA+ options. “Love, Simon” is a rom-com about a gay teen trying to find love in high school — and I promise it’s just as cheesy as any straight rom-com. Another option is “Carol,” a lesbian period piece. 

Self-love can also be a big part of the holiday, especially if you are single. Self-care and self-love are extremely important for the LGBTQIA+ community. When the straight cisgender world is violent and hateful towards queer people, one of the most radical things you can do is love yourself and be proud of who you are. A self care idea is to treat yourself to a nice meal. Take yourself out to a restaurant and enjoy your meal, even if it is alone. Another option is to take some time for yourself. Meditate, do yoga or take a nice bath. Sometimes, alone time is exactly what you need to recharge. 

Valentine’s Day may not be always the safest holiday for queer individuals. If you are not out or you are out in an unsafe enviroment for you or your queer relationship, do whatever will keep you safe. You do not need to come out if it isn’t safe to do so. Even so, there are still ways to celebrate your identity regardless of whether you are out or not. Sometimes, celebrating ourselves in small ways is all we can do. Valentine’s Day puts an emphasis on grand gestures and displays of affection, but this is not always possible — or comfortable — for people. Celebrate in whatever way you can, whenever you can.

Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity for pride. Showing the world that a non-heteronormative standard of love can exist gives others inspiration and hope in their own coming-out journeys. But if you are not ready to come out, that is okay too. Just be sure to show yourself love regardless of your relationship status this Valentine’s Day. You are perfect just as you are. 

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