Posts Tagged :

Valentine’s Day

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.

February 14th Is A Holiday For Everyone! 495 401 cj

February 14th Is A Holiday For Everyone!

February 14th Is A Holiday For Everyone!

The sociologist Pepper Schwartz once said, “In the best of all possible worlds, February 14th is a pleasant and sentimental opportunity to lavish your partner with attention or move your relationship to the next level.” Unfortunately the reality is not so easy! Although Valentine’s Day receives a lot of attention, the LGBTQ+ community can sometimes feel left out of this holiday.

The romantic commercials and cute rom-coms often focus on cisgender, straight couples. LGBTQ+ people may feel invisible on Valentine’s Day, especially if they feel they have to hide their relationships and authentic selves from family, classmates or co-workers. LGBTQ+ couples of color may even feel more excluded from the narrative.

Luckily, there are some great, creative minds out there who have proposed some other options recently. Galentine’s Day is meant to celebrate female friendship and there is also Palentine’s Day which puts the emphasis on friendship rather than gender.

Kaleidoscope believes that Valentine’s Day is a holiday for everyone who would like to celebrate. It is a day to proclaim romantic love (even asexual love) for a partner, a spouse, a girlfriend, or boyfriend. And it is also a day to acknowledge parents, siblings, children, friends, and co-workers to show them that they are appreciated.

Here are some ways to make Valentine’s Day a happy and inclusive event:

DIY: Say “no thank you” to the heteronormative standards of Valentine’s Day and make your own cards or small gifts. Give your gifts to the people in your life who matter to you. They will love a homemade card or a loaf of banana bread!

Share on your social media: Just be aware of what you are posting. Try to share images of same gender couples as well as male/female couples. Share images of people of color or people with disabilities. Remember, everyone deserves to celebrate their love!

Think about using words in an inclusive manner: For example, when your colleagues are talking about plans for the holiday, are you assuming genders and identities? Try using the words “partner” or “spouse”  instead of “husband” or “wife” when asking about your colleague’s plans to show that you are interested, but not making any assumptions.

Let Valentine’s Day be the start of more inclusivity year round: While Pride month in June is the official time to recognize the impact that LGBTQ+ people have had in the world, it is always the right time for the LGBTQ+ community to feel included. Dr. Crystal Jones summed it up best when she said, “there is a huge difference between “all are welcome” and “this was created with you in mind.” Let’s have February 14th – whether it is Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or Palentine’s Day –  be the beginning of an intention to follow Dr. Crystal Jones’ lead to let everyone know that ALL of the holidays are for YOU!

Happy everything everybody!



Four Ways to Have an Uplifting Valentine’s Day 495 400 cj

Four Ways to Have an Uplifting Valentine’s Day

Four Ways to Have an Uplifting Valentine's Day

As February begins, Kaleidoscope would like to make a spin on celebrating a month that is typically dedicated to a specific kind of love. Although the love we see in movies and TV shows  may be wonderful, we are looking beyond the association of Valentine’s Day with that type of love in order to celebrate connections of all kinds this month—with family, friends, community, school, hobbies, work, and others that we may even be unaware of.

At Kaleidoscope, our mission is to provide affirming support to LGBTQ+ teens, young adults, and their families. Our events and programming help build community and connection among people who support the LGBTQ+ community.

Four Ways to Have an Uplifting Valentine’s Day

In keeping with the theme of celebrating connections, Kaleidoscope would like to share the idea of having an uplifting Valentine’s Day. When we say uplifting, we propose considering the different kinds of people in your life, how you connect to them, and how you can express gratitude for their presence in your life. Oftentimes, we tend to focus on hoping that various forms of love come our way.  Actually, an amazing thing can happen when we shift our focus to the various forms of love that we can send out!  Our experience shows that when we take a moment of our time to contribute to someone else’s day in a positive way, we also feel good about ourselves.

  • A simple and thoughtful way of doing this is by giving a Thank You note or card to a teacher or a coworker for believing in you and being supportive (or in whichever way they have been helpful–the more specific the better!)
  • If you are in an environment with many people, another way to be a light in that context is to share a treat (extra points if you make it yourself) or candy with those in your surroundings.
  • Random acts of kindness can go tremendously far. Take the time to tell that person you see every day, but might not talk to or know well, that you like their shoes.
  • Making a list of at least five things about yourself that you like gives you time to reflect and recognize that you are a person worth love and care. If you have trouble with this, think back in time to something you did that helped someone else.

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, have a great month celebrating all the wonderful connections you have in your life!