Queering Valentine’s Day

*fair warning, this really isn’t all that deep and probably doesn’t meet the technical criteria for “queering”

Valentine’s Day – as much of a capitalists marketing ploy at this point as a day to celebrate romanticism – elicits many emotions. For those in relationships, it can be elation, celebration, or even annoyance. For those recently experiencing heartbreak(s), it can be deflation, depression, or even liberation. People may exist in between or outside of these states, or may not believe in the heteronormativity or even monogamy traditionally celebrated. But still, Valentine’s Day remains an indelible part of American society.

So what then, is queering Valentine’s Day?

I propose that we begin to look at this day as something different. Rather than a celebration of romantic love, which can sometimes leave us feeling complete, empty, or broken (or elicit no response at all) instead we celebrate that which makes us feel good (including romantic love).

Perhaps we can celebrate the bonds that we share with those whom we consider dear to us, whether these be romantic, platonic, or familial bonds. Perhaps we celebrate the activities and experiences that make us as individuals feel special or alive. Rather that viewing the holiday with derision or skepticism (but perhaps *this* is what makes *you* feel special) we could instead approach it with cautious optimism and vulnerability, fully cognizant of what it means in contemporary society, but willing to recast it as something that celebrates a variety of different kinds of love or affection.

This call to action transcends the boundary of sexuality or gender, but also celebrates sexuality and gender. It also celebrates the asexual and agender. Rather than setting us at odds with things that we cannot change, will not change, or do not want to change, this celebration empowers individuals to share and experience affection as it exists.

Today I am reminded of the things that I want but do not yet have, perhaps because I have not yet been able to take my own advice to heart. But if I am to apply it, I will celebrate the family that loves me, the friends that sustain me, and the potential relationships (in whatever form) that will surely develop in the future. I will celebrate the fact that I am fully dedicated to a career path that makes me happy, that I am free to pursue art when and where I desire, and that I am firm and confident in my queerness. If I can celebrate these things, then I have made Valentine’s Day something positive for myself that transcends its heteronormative roots. Hopefully, others who might struggle on this day, or even those who relish it, can also give it some deeper meaning.

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