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Self Love on Valentine's Day
Self Love on Valentine’s Day 495 400 cj

Self Love on Valentine’s Day

Self Love on Valentine's Day

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.

Courageous Love 495 401 cj

Courageous Love

Courageous Love

By: Sarah Bruce

February is here, hearkening the return of red and pink greeting cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and ads depicting cisgender individuals in heterosexual relationships gazing, love-struck, into each other’s eyes. Valentine’s Day shines a glaring spotlight on romantic relationships, which can evoke a wide range of emotions among LGBTQIA+ people, from excitement to dread. While many LGBTQIA+ people enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day with loved ones, others may avoid celebrating due to implicit or explicit pressure about what their love and relationships “should” look like. For members of the LGBTQIA+ community, the ability to love in a way that feels healthy and fulfilling often means finding the courage to defy societal norms and expectations.

LGBTQIA+ relationships are strong, genuine, and incredibly diverse. For example, an LGBTQIA+ person may find love and joy in a romantic relationship with someone of the same or a different gender. This relationship may or may not include a physical component. Another LGBTQIA+ person may not experience romantic feelings toward others and may find meaning and contentment in platonic relationships with loved ones. Further, someone who is questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation may not know which types or aspects of relationships feel enjoyable. There are many ways for LGBTQIA+ people to experience love and relationships, and all are valid and deserving of respect.

Consider spending this Valentine’s Day investing in relationships in a way that feels meaningful and brave by prioritizing what brings you and your loved ones joy over societal expectations. If you are an LGBTQIA+ person, loving courageously may mean spending time with a romantic partner,  getting together with friends, volunteering in the community, or improving your relationship with yourself by engaging in self-care. If you are an ally, exemplify bravery by telling an LGBTQIA+ friend or family member that you will always love and support them and their relationships. You may also find the courage to highlight stories and images of LGBTQIA+ people and relationships in your celebrations with others this Valentine’s Day to make sure everyone feels included. Loving courageously on Valentine’s Day is not about expressing love the “right” way, but rather being brave enough to love your way.