Valentine’s Day leaves out the LGBTQIA++ community

Photo courtesy of Jason Leung via Unsplash

By Mateo Menjivar

Valentine’s day is a day when people in relationships of all types can show their love to one another. However, when you’re seeing advertisements for gifts or romantic dinners or even watching romantic movie marathons on tv, why is the focus only on straight couples? Sure “The Notebook” and “Casablanca” are romantic, but what message does this send to LGBTQIA++ youth who do not see themselves represented?

Valentine’s Day is still very traditional in that there is a focus on heteronormative stereotypes. Men should give women flowers and chocolates on February 14. However, we live in a much more modern world where women don’t have to abide by traditional standards. Women can perform their own romantic gestures for the guy in the relationship, for example. 

We also live in a world where LGBTQIA++ representation is on the rise. Marriage was legalized in 2015 across all 50 states, for example. We’re starting to see shows like “Euphoria” and “Sex Education” that put more emphasis on LGBTQUA++ relationships. So why hasn’t Valentine’s Day caught up? 

The world is changing each day, month, and year, it’s time for Valentine’s Day to be represented not only by straight couples but by the LGBTQIA++ community as well. 

“Valentine’s Day can be a complicated holiday to navigate for the LGBTQ community,” Anni Irish writes for Business Insider. “Societally, there’s still an outsized emphasis on heteronormative standards of relationships, sex, and romantic love. For people in the LGBTQ community, Valentine’s Day and the larger representation of it are often made to feel at odds with mainstream society.”

Although this might cause some problems, especially with more conservative audiences, some companies are trying to be inclusive. 

Hallmark released their 2016 “One card, Many Backstories” campaign which featured two gay couples. Lush had a campaign titled #BetterTogether in 2017 that depicted same-sex couples relaxing in bubble baths.

But even in 2022, it is hard to remember a campaign that features LGBTQIA++ couples as well as straight couples. Ad campaigns like Hallmark’s and Lush’s are few and far between. 

Although the LGBTQIA++ community is represented and celebrated in the month of June during Pride month, June should not be the only month that LGBTQIA++ people are able to celebrate their love. People should feel that they are welcomed and included in multiple holidays as we celebrate them, especially in February on Valentine’s Day. Since this holiday is about love and relationships we like to celebrate.