Self Love on Valentine’s Day

By Leo Kirkham

Valentine’s Day is an ancient holiday that has changed over time from a feast day to honor the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, to a holiday celebrating love and romance across the world.

Some queer and trans people feel that Valentine’s Day is an overly commercialized, heteronormative holiday. There’s a social expectation on Valentine’s Day that a man will purchase flowers, chocolates, and a Hallmark greeting card for a woman.

From a trans person who doesn’t fit this gender binary, to a gay man who would prefer to be buying the chocolates for another man, to an asexual or aromantic person who doesn’t even have an interest in the whole affair, there are many ways that this traditional Valentine’s narrative does not fit the LGBTQIA community.

Rather than participating in the commercial holiday – or in addition to it! – I suggest the following tips for cultivating self-love and community on Valentine’s Day:

Let go of the need for a date or romance on Valentine’s Day.

You don’t need to participate in romance if you’re not interested. Cancel that dinner reservation and have a cozy night in with your friends, family, or loved ones. Love can take many forms.

Make handmade Valentines instead of buying a generic card.

The love and care that goes into a handmade card can be felt by the receiver. Have fun with some arts and crafts and make your own Valentine this year.

Not feeling crafty, but still want to bring a smile to your friends’ faces? Look up some Valentine’s memes and send them the pictures!

Take yourself on a date.

Draw yourself a bubble bath, read a nice book, curl up on the couch with some reality TV and takeout… You deserve love and care too!

Volunteer in your community.

If you’re feeling lonely, the greatest way to feel connected to your community is to give back. Volunteer with a group like the LA LGBT Center and see the impact you have on others.

Write a love letter to yourself.

This one is challenging, but try writing yourself a love letter. Write down: “Dear [name], I love you. Let me count the ways.” And list 20-30 things you love about yourself, or as many as you can. Read the letter out loud to yourself. Fold it up and slip it in a safe place to come back to it and reread it later.

This Valentine’s Day, I hope you feel loved by your community, your friends, your family, and most of all, yourself.

Leo Kirkham (They/Them)

Program Coordinator

Leo Kirkham (they/them) has worked with LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults for 8 years as a youth advocate, camp counselor, and volunteer. They also have experience working with homeless youth, foster youth, and neurodivergent youth. Leo also volunteers as a mentor to community college students who are transferring to university. They are passionate about supporting vulnerable young people and giving them the skills to grow and thrive.