February 14th has become synonymous with romance, love and tradition. It’s a day filled with cards, flowers, chocolates and and all those Hallmark gifts. As members of the LGBT community, we know that the love flows deep in our relationships, and well, who doesn’t like chocolate? But with all this tradition and public display of affection, a good percentage of the queer community may be feeling sidelined.
Obviously we’ve come a long way in the past decades, at least in most of the world, concerning same-sex relationships. We have the privilege to openly love our partners in many situations, but all parts of this vast world may not be as open. Regardless of the law and the cultures that we live in, our own personal safety and comfort may conflict with open displays of love and caring. But you don’t need to be told that, let’s look instead at the many options we have to celebrate this occasion!
Not surprisingly, for a long time some members of the LGBT community would skip the 14th of February entirely! Instead, the 15th of the month, when restaurants are empty and the traditional fanfare has died down, has grown for some into “Gay Valentine’s Day”. For many, not being surrounded by cuddly couples, and potentially judging eyes, makes the food and the experience more palatable. The evening can actually turn out to be more romantic when you have the place to yourself. Not to mention, reservations for restaurants and flower deliveries are a snap if you’re not the best at planning in advance. It’s an LGBT tradition that can be a great choice if you’re looking for something a little more tranquil or discrete.
But if you intend to venture out for an actual Valentine’s Day date, there’s no need to feel restricted. For LGBT people, it will be a journey of discovery to discover which, if any, gender stereotypes you may want to embrace. Simply expecting standard gifts and actions like some people in opposite-sex relationships isn’t healthy in any situation, communication and compromise can provide the best outcomes for both sides. If you’re feeling creative and motivated, consider taking advantage of both the 14th and 15th for each partner to pamper the other in a more “traditional” (let’s not kid ourselves, borderline misogynistic) fashion.
But the day isn’t all dinners and flowers, the real Valentine’s Day is all about the love. Try spreading it by picking up a pack of those adorable childhood cards and hand them around the workplace. Not everyone has a Valentine, leave it to the LGBT community to bring the cheer!
Celebrate, encourage and applaud love in all its forms by normalizing same-sex and trans PDA. If you’re comfortable and safe, show your pride and help embolden those who hesitate. For those new to a relationship, you will soon realize that a Gay Valentine’s day is not much different from what we see on TV and movies. It is always what you make it, and the best are made with lots of love, but we can always show that the gays, lesbians, trans and queers can celebrate and outshine any heterosexual attempts.