What It’s Like To Be an LGTBQ Person on Valentine’s Day

Does #LoveWin on Valentine’s Day?

Realistically, Valentine’s Day is a heteronormative, capitalist excuse to sexualize women and sell unnecessary products to consumers, and it was definitely not made for an LGTBQ+ person.

I was probably 7 years old the last time I actually liked Valentine’s Day – and that was because it was basically a second Halloween where I got candy in school and we played games all class long. Valentine’s Day has pretty much always seemed arbitrary to me.  Why don’t we express love for our loved ones all year long?  Why is sex only supposed to be spontaneous (ironically, that is not spontaneous) and romantic only during holidays that are social constructs? Why do we need to purchase a lavish gift and lingerie for our significant others to think we care about them? In theory, a day to reflect and appreciate your loved one makes sense, but it has become completely infiltrated by consumerism.   The expectations are relentless.  Men must spoil and treat their girlfriends and wives to jewellery, chocolates, and an expensive dinner, while women must purchase lingerie and are expected to have sex with their partners. On the other hand, It makes anyone who’s single feel bad because they cannot participate in it.  Does anyone else not see how illogical that is?

The media over the next two weeks will be full of heterosexual and sexist advertisements to help sell this holiday and terrible rom coms that continue to exploit the normal male and female stereotypes.  Campaigns will be trying to convince men that their women deserve diamonds and convince women that men deserve you – because objectification is the advertisement industry’s forte. Every person is belittled to be an ideal that is impossible and demeaning. 

Well, I am a lesbian – self-proclaimed, obviously – and Valentine’s Day is just as silly to me as I have always thought it was.  But, I am also in love, and the romantic in me wants to use any excuse I can to celebrate the incredible woman in my life.  This means that for the first time in years, I am considering making plans on the most overrated day of the year (and if you knew this girl, you would too).  She has the most breathtaking laugh; a laugh that I would probably injure myself to hear (unintentionally, I am a total klutz). I love the way she smells – she practically has to push me away to get me to stop kissing her.  She is unequivocally the kindest and sweetest woman I have ever met, to every single person she meets – and way too nice for me. I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to be half as amazing as she is.  

So, I realized that despite my own issues with the capitalist conventions of Valentine’s Day, I had to start planning something for her.  When I started considering the things that I would want to do, I began to wonder if being gay was going to affect what we did and where we did it.  I thought back to my Christmas shopping.  I went to Bath and Body Works to purchase a perfume that my girlfriend likes called ‘Mahogany Woods’.  I went in the store and I was asked by not one, but three different girls working in the store if I was buying it for my boyfriend   The same thing happened when I purchased clothing from the men’s department in H&M, and looked at sunglasses at Sunglass Hut – my girlfriend’s style is not the most orthodox feminine, but culture should stop expecting that.  Fortunately, and it is crazy that I am using this as a silver lining, but I was bullied when I was younger, which taught me not to give a damn what people thought about me.  So each time someone asked about this supposed “boyfriend” I had, I had to correct them and tell them that it was for my girlfriend.  It happens a lot and I am not embarrassed of my sexuality. I know that none of the salespeople meant anything malicious by what they said, but it is unfortunately  the society we live in.  

We live in a very progressive country and I am lucky that I am growing up in a decade with equal marriage laws and I have the most embracing and loving family a girl could ask for, but not everyone is that lucky. For many LGTBQ+ people, sexuality and gender are very complicated and personal components of life.  Not everyone has a supportive family or friends, and is subject to hiding who they are from the public eye.  This encourages Valentine’s Day to be another day where they are unable to participate in expressing themselves and their love.  In this case, they do not have any choice but to be single – not just on Valentine’s Day, but on every day of the year. For some LGTBQ+, Valentine’s Day is a day where popular culture reminds you that you are not normal and that the kind of love the media idolizes will never be achievable.  And realistically, some people will never get the opportunity to be with someone they truly love because of our cultural stigma.   

I have often heard the comment “I can’t get a boyfriend, maybe I will start dating girls.” Well ladies, we welcome you, and once you join the breast – I mean best – side you may never go back.  But, in all seriousness, don’t make a joke about our sexuality and don’t denigrate everything that you as a woman have to offer.  A man should not define who you are and it definitely should not determine how you spend your February 14th.  Don’t get me wrong, I love lingerie, but you do not need it to feel sexy.  And I am the first to say that being in love is truly the most incredible thing that can happen to your soul, but as an individual, there is so much you have to contribute to the world.

Personally, I think this holiday makes everyone who does not have someone feel alone.  The media and our culture have distorted what really matters when it comes to relationships and  self-love. Whether you are gay or straight, within the binary or not, or even single or coupled, Valentine’s Day has been marketed to make you believe that you need some gift, event, or person to make yourself or your relationship seem significant and special.  It has turned the most beautiful thing that life has to offer and made people resent it. That is not what love is about.

So, I encourage you to reach out to the many incredible people in your lives and spend Valentine’s Day celebrating them.  Send your mom flowers.  Call your dad.  Buy your sister chocolates.  Take your brother out for lunch.  Watch a movie with your best friends.  Write a paper (let’s not forget we all still have school, even if it is Valentine’s Day).  But most of all, we should focus on making sure that everyday, not just Valentine’s Day, is spent sharing and appreciating the amazing people that bring happiness and warmth to our daily lives, and that includes yourself.  #selflove #LoveWins

Happy Love Day.