Heteronormative Valentine’s depictions marginalize LGBTQIA+ community


Courtesy of Pixabay

Illustration of a same sex couples.

Samantha Carrillo, Opinion Writer

Valentine’s Day is stressful for a multitude of reasons.

It can be easy to be consumed by conceivably heteronormative problems — such as celebrating alone, being away from loved ones or having confusion about what to buy for a significant other — predicaments abound on this holiday. Consequently, we may be unaware of quieter issues that the holiday sparks outside of commonplace discourse.

The LGBTQIA+ community can hardly formulate a perspective regarding Valentine’s Day, as they are continually underrepresented. The holiday perpetuates a fixed depiction of couples and romance as primarily held between a man and a woman. Acceptance of heteronormative relationships is transparently furthered through media which commonly displays straight and cisgender (gender conforming) couples. Such portrayals delve through commonplace complaints about Valentine’s Day, shedding minimal light on experiences of those in the LGBTQIA+ community.  

Additionally, stores that advertise matching items for couples under categories like “his” and “hers” exclude LGBTQIA+ couples altogether. Although straight or cisgender couples are not affected by this issue, it does not make it any less pertinent.

What seems like a minor microaggression has the potential to cause further harm to the community; it is important to draw attention to the fact that “his” and “hers” are not the only pronouns that belong together, especially for such a socially relevant holiday where the primary focus should be embracing love and relationships.

Furthermore, for those identifying as part of the asexual/aromantic community on a day set aside for romantic couples, social relevance is lacking, unfortunately. Those who identify as asexual possess no sexual attraction or romantic feelings for others, and thus, asexuality is too frequently invalidated as an orientation.

It is crucial that for this coming Valentine’s Day and many after, that we remember the relevance of inclusiveness and keeping in mind how harmful advertising and mainstream media can be. Allowing LGBTQIA+ couples to have the representation they deserve on a holiday as relevant as Valentine’s Day will undoubtedly create harmony and unify instead of divide.