Let’s All be Allies this Valentine’s

Written by Maureen Lynch

February 14th is undoubtedly, a day to celebrate love, in any form. Love for a friend, a family member, a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, whomever. However, there is one group of people that seem to be excluded from this celebration. The LGBTQ+ community faces the everyday struggle of heteronormativity, but society’s preference for heterosexual couples comes out in full force on V-Day. This Valentine’s Day, millions of Americans who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community will have to work around society’s excluding structures to celebrate the love they have for their partner.

Heteronormativity, for those of you who are unaware, is the “the assumption that heterosexuality is the standard for defining normal sexual behavior and that male–female differences and gender roles are the natural and immutable essentials in normal human relations,” according to the APA Dictionary for Psychology. This is a phenomenon that LGBTQ+ people must work through daily. However, things can get less inviting on Valentine’s Day.

The products sold on Valentine’s Day for couples, such as greeting cards and jewelry can be hard to pick out for a partner. Greeting cards often feature he/she pronouns, or gender-neutral words like spouse or partner, which limits the options for the LGBTQ+ community. According to an article published by Bustle, LGBTQ+ couples who make reservations at restaurants or hotel rooms, or who are simply buying jewelry will face the assumption that they are with a person of the opposite sex. Restaurants can assume a couple is actually just two friends, or that your wife would love this necklace, oh no, actually its for my husband.  

Simple tasks become all that much harder when you must face a person’s prejudice while performing them. And this can be felt especially on Valentines Day, a traditionally heteronormative holiday. So, here are some ideas of inclusive activities for the holiday.

  1. Self-Care

According to an article written by thebodyisnotanapology.com, an activity on V-Day can be to “Take time to relax and indulge in a healing bubble bath or spa day, or get out there and join a gym, go for a run, a hike, a climb, a swim.  Eat your favorite foods. Watch that favorite movie, or binge that favorite TV show. Date yourself, and treat yourself right, or share the day with someone who you can be yourself with and treat yourself right with them too.” Or, you can have a spa day with your partner!

2. Palentine’s Day

Spend some quality time with the people who love you the most- your besties! Getting a group together who love and support you is important for everyone, but it is also a great way to build a sense of community.

3. Couple’s Bucket List

I personally find this a fun idea, no matter whom you are in a relationship with. A couple’s bucket list can help you pick out fun date ideas, or experiences that you want to share together. So, the next time you and your partner are sitting around thinking about what to do, you can just pull out the list! Also, if you are in a long-term relationship, it may be a fun way to plan for the future.  

Valentine’s Day is a holiday for everyone, no matter whom you love. We still have a lot of work to do to make this world more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community, and for other traditionally marginalized groups. But for Valentine’s Day, love is the only thing that should matter. Let’s celebrate the one thing that has no gender or sexual identity. Let’s celebrate love.