February 29, 2020
Celebrating an inclusive Valentines Day
Valentine's day is upon us. We’re deep into the Hallmark-fueled, lovey-dovey pink and red hearts time of year surrounding the beloved holiday. It’s time to curl up and watch some cheesy romantic movie; The Notebook, Pretty Woman, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Fault in our Stars, and maybe even Fifty Shades of Grey are likely coming to a laptop screen near you. While these movies are all valentines day movie classics, take a note of what kind of content you’re promoting while giving these movies attention. Nearly every image of a happy romance that we’re supposed to swoon over depicts a straight couple. GLAAD's 2018 film survey found that only 12.8% of 109 films surveyed included an LGBT character.
Valentine's day is a celebration of love, but when the Queer community is discluded so regularly, it becomes hard for many people to celebrate the holiday. No matter how you identify, creating an LGBT inclusive environment, even in small ways, can make a huge difference. One of the most simple, yet effective ways of doing this is simply by giving those movies which depict queer characters the same attention as more heterocentric films. Recently, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Love Simon, Tell it to the Bees, End of the Century, and Booksmart have been important for queer representation, so consider diversifying your Valentine’s day movie night with one of those films.
Another easy to honor the community, especially around Valentines day, is to be well-versed in LGBT topics. Now, I’m not saying that you have to know every detail of every LGBT related issue, but putting in the effort to read a little bit past the headlines can make a big difference. Similar to giving the shows and movies attention, celebrating the progress made in the community opens up the conversation and creates a much more inclusive environment. Some important victories of this decade include: Barack Obama signing the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” on December 22, 2010. Same-sex marriage being legalized in all 50 states on June 26, 2015, and the ruling that the Civil Rights Act prohibited workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees on April 4, 2017. Even right now, we’re making history with Pete Butigeg as the first openly gay candidate to mount a major campaign for presidency. Knowing and celebrating these big victories, while also being aware of the struggle so many people have to love freely, becomes increasingly important as we celebrate love this valentine's season.
Whether it be through celebrating the LGBT through giving attention to media with representation, or paying attention to the way the community has advanced, Valentine's day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate everyone’s love.