The Queer Valentine’s Day Experience

Gabriela Enamorado/Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is the day for couples to show their affection for one another, go out on dates and give each other nice gifts. It’s a day to flaunt your love to the public, social media or anywhere else you want.

Or at least that’s true for straight couples. 

For queer people, it may be more difficult than that. They may not be able to be as open as everyone else because of the way society perceives queer people and queer relationships. It’s still not as acceptable as straight relationships to flaunt your queer relationship, and this can make holidays like Valentine’s Day hard for people in the LGBTQ+ community. 

If a closeted person is in a relationship, they can’t experience Valentine’s Day the same as straight people can. Going out with their partner or posting about them on social media can bring exposure to their sexuality when they aren’t ready to come out. There can be a sense of isolation on Valentine’s Day when you can’t be open about who you love like everyone else. It’s depressing and lonely especially if no one else knows that you’re hiding and you just want to go out on a cute Valentine’s date like everyone else. 

You don’t have to be closeted to feel like Valentine’s Day isn’t for you if you’re queer. Even if you’re out and happily in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can still feel like a risky move. In May 2019, a lesbian couple was attacked by four teenage boys on a London bus just because they kissed. People are still heavily judged and can even be in danger just by openly being themselves in public. 

Being openly affectionate on Valentine’s Day can bring unwanted attention by people who aren’t used to seeing same-sex couples in public. I experienced this once when I went on a date with a girl for Valentine’s Day a couple of years back. I was fairly excited and though I wasn’t completely out, I was ready to go on my first Valentine’s Day date. It was nice at first until I noticed people staring at us. All we were doing was holding hands, but I felt extremely awkward and didn’t feel comfortable being affectionate anymore. Experiences like this prevent others like me from fully enjoying Valentine’s day. Nobody wants to be gawked at while just trying to have a regular date. 

Things have gotten a lot better in the past 10 years, but not everyone is super accepting just yet. Valentine’s Day is a fine holiday and all but not everyone feels like it’s made for them. Until people come around to being more accepting of queer couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, it won’t always be something that includes us or makes us feel comfortable.

I’d like to see the day when everyone can go on Valentine’s Day dates without feeling scared someone might see them or that their safety may be compromised. 

Featured Image by ong somos on Flickr.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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