It’s that time of the year again where we collectively swoon, celebrate our relationships and find ourselves either engulfed or repulsed by love. Valentine’s Day is coming up which means you’ll be bombarded by countless deals on chocolates, heart-shaped balloons, and images of heterosexual couples. Though societal representation of queer couples is growing day by day, Valentine’s Day is still not a day that is designed for queer-identifying folks and couples. This year, we urge you to challenge that notion.
Of course, historically, Valentine’s Day wasn’t about same-sex or queer couples; it wasn’t even about heterosexual couples. The day originated as a liturgical celebration of Christian martyrs. February 14 was not originally about love but about the execution of a priest named Valentine. The fact that the day went from one about beheading to betrothing is proof that we have the ability to radically transform this day into anything we want. And transform we did.
Whether it’s the Valentine’s Day lingerie special from Savage X Fenty or the prolific release of Hallmark cards and movies, our society has found a way to capitalize on this day and make us feel almost obligated to participate, whether or not you’re single. This makes it extremely hard for those who don’t see themselves represented in the characterization of this day. Jewelry commercials only show heterosexual couples, products are tailored to “His & Hers” and Hallmark only has 11 Valentine’s Day cards dedicated to same-sex couples while there are 764 cards dedicated to heterosexual relationships.
The way society prioritizes heterosexual over non-conforming relationships is the same way most universities, including our own, operate. There aren’t many official administrative events going on at UM but if there were, we doubt they would be queer focused. Smaller events for Valentine’s Day are happening through campus organizations such as United Black Student’s Black Awareness Month BBQ and Sigma Delta Tau’s Candy-Owl Grams (all the proceeds are going to a local community library). Even though they are not directly queer-focused, we are not forgetting that both of these events are serving underrepresented communities and are absolutely, in turn, extending the meaning of the day. SpectrUM, our school’s student organization for LGBTQIA+ identifying folks, however, will be partnering with the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority to have a “Palentine’s Day” celebration the day before Valentine’s Day. It would have been much more effective and forward-thinking if more fraternities, sororities and organizations partnered with SpectrUM and the LGBTQ Center to diversify their celebrations of this heteronormative day.
In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of antithetical celebrations to the original meaning of Valentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day emerged as a time to celebrate with the female friends in your life while Palentine’s Day is a gender-inclusive day to celebrate all friendships. Surely, we can reclaim the Valentine’s Day or the day before to include queer narratives in our celebration. So this Valentine’s Day, check on your queer friends and couples to make sure they’re feeling loved and included. Visit our LGBTQ center in the UC to find out how you can support our queer students. Write a letter to queer folks that are incarcerated or visit a local queer youth facility such as Miami’s Pridelines. Do more to celebrate queerness this Valentine’s Day and in the future.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.