The LGBT community’s rocky relationship with Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is traditionally very heteronormative, leaving some within the LGBTQ community to feel left out. But members of the LGBTQ community can still find many, albeit nontraditional, ways to enjoy the holiday.

If one is able to look past the sea of red and pink cards and endless heart-shaped chocolate boxes in stores, they can see one of the paramount meanings behind the highly capitalized holiday of Valentine’s Day; love.

Finding the so-called “real” meaning of this holiday can be challenging when the marketing is all one can see.

This search can be especially challenging for people who identify within the queer community. Marketing, representation and general ability to display affection can all tie into this difficulty, Kasey Catlett, Multicultural Affairs assistant director, said.

Marketing especially can play into a person’s perception of Valentine’s Day.

Advertisements for products targeting couples often fail to illustrate the experiences of the queer people watching. This can, in part, lead to feelings of isolation, Catlett said.

Representation can have a variety of effects on a person’s life.

“If you don’t see yourself represented, it’s kind of damaging to the psyche. You feel less seen and therefore less valid,” Allysa Venzor, Gender and Sexuality Alliance president, said.

Representation does not come only in the form of advertising or media. Valentine’s Day can be a time for people to profess their love for one another and show affection with extravagant gifts.

Not all queer people have the ability to do this, for a number of reasons.

“If you grew up knowing that you, um, were not, like, you know, straight, it’s very much a different experience,” Venzor said.

Catlett said it’s typical for people who are not in a position to express their identities to retract from a holiday such as Valentine’s Day, which has themes that lie heavily in romance.

“This can be a very difficult time of the year for people,” Catlett said. “So allow yourself to not like Valentine’s Day.”

Having mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day? There are a couple things people can do to make this day a little less isolating. If loving someone else isn’t in the cards this Valentine’s Day, there is always self-love.

“Take this day to sort of treat yourself,” film junior K.C. Kramer said. “Make it a day about you.”

Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to be intentional about self-care. Students in difficult situations can take the opportunity to reshape their feelings by taking themselves to a movie or even an individual massage, Catlett said.

Venzor recommends finding an LGBTQ film to watch as well as celebrating loved ones such as friends or family.

“Allow yourself to look past the, you know, Mylar heart balloons and the really cheap crappy candy and things like that, and allow yourself to say ‘you know, this sucks right now’ and that’s okay,” Catlett said. “There are people out there who are here to support and love.”


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(6) comments


More manufactured victimization. Smh.

Michael S

Why do these people feel the need to whine and cry over anything that is against them? They are the reason for social issues that should be irrelevant but because they wish to feel special, they cry over anything that gets them attention. They should get a therapist.


Just a word of advice. If you go around always getting your feelings hurt that someone doesn't market a particular item directly to your relatively small group, you are in for a lifetime of disappointment and sadness.
I can tell you 100% for a fact that they don't market to my group either.
Get over it. Move on. Pick your battles wisely.
Unless your goal is to be a lifetime victim, that is.

Michael S

Being the victim is fun though! That is why I identify as anything and everything so people have to walk on egg-shells around me.


This is a pointless article. LGBTQ peeps don't like valentines day now? How insane is this group?

Michael S

They need therapy that will wake them up that life is unfair and maybe they should quit trying to get society to revolve around them and instead just be happy with themselves.

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