Valentine's Day Sucks When You're Gay

The most common criticism I have heard levied against Valentine’s Day is that it was invented by greeting card companies. And whether you take that more cynical outlook or you instead favour the idea that it comes from the historical Saint Valentine, there is no arguing that modern Valentine’s Day has been commodified to appeal to couples. By creating an artificial air of romance, people who are in relationships are much more likely to spend money on each other. As a result, most of the media related to this day is designed to evoke an emotional, romantic response.

If you are straight, that is.

If you fall anywhere under the LGBTQ umbrella, then it kind of sucks. This is because, when a day puts such intense focus on relationships, it also creates a much more acute focus on heteronormative monogamy.

Popular media rarely features any healthy queer relationships where one or more parties don’t end up dead. And if you want to take your partner out on a romantic date night, you will almost certainly deal with uncomfortable stares and/or misgendering, if not verbal harassment or even violence. Again, these are things that queer couples deal with year-round, but the added focus brought alongside Valentine’s Day makes that imbalance a lot harder to simply ignore.



Things are slowly beginning to change. Relationships like mine are becoming more visible. In addition, with each passing year, the public consciousness towards February shifts to give less weight to Valentine’s Day and more weight to Black History Month. (As a side note, if you want to be more involved in supporting people of colour you should start by educating yourself.)

Educating yourself is also the best way to support the LGBTQ community. I personally do not have a remedy for this problem. No one person does. This is a year-round systemic issue that has an especially acute sting in February. If you want to help make a difference as an ally, then one of the best things you can do is to help make space for queer visibility. Help make sure our voices are heard, and call out the people who would see us silenced and relegated to the shadows. Change is won by consistently working to dismantle the structures of power that hurt marginalized groups. It can’t be fixed overnight, but it can be fixed.

In the meantime, my partner and I aren’t going to let Valentine’s Day get us down. To celebrate our relationship, we will be enjoying a romantic dinner of takeout and a Steven Universe marathon. And I cannot think of a better way to spend time with someone I love than by watching a show about queer space rocks of colour. I hope you can have such an affirming day, too.