LGBTQ+ Valentine's Day

The new LGBTQ+ Pride Center opened its new office in the Student Services Building.

The age-old romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day is now an all-encompassing celebration of love.

Feb. 14 has many constants: cheesy cards, cute stuffed animals, overpriced flowers and — everyone’s favorite — crappy chocolate. However, there are some new, refreshing qualities to Valentine’s Day, such as recognition of the LGBTQ+ community.

Tori Jackson, LGBTQ+ Pride Center coordinator, said there is a present lack of representation in commercial aspects of Valentine’s Day and other holidays as well.

“I think there’s probably a lot of variation on how the LGBTQ+ community thinks about and feels about how Valentine’s Day is portrayed,” Jackson said. “I think there’s a lack of media representation across the board for all holidays.”

Jackson said there is not only a lack of LGBTQ+ representation in advertisements, but also an insufficient amount of racial and ethnic variation. They said the media should progress to show more variety, especially with respect to a holiday celebrating love.

“There’s definitely room for improvement,” Jackson said. “I think not just being white couples, that’s a big thing. Media tends to represent [white couples] predominantly instead of a mixed one, whatever the couple’s gender, sexual orientation. That could be an improvement of there being a variety of different races and ethnicities. Again, showing same-sex couples, aromantic or asexual romances would also be a big improvement.”

Fransisca Marini, outreach and programming librarian curator with Cushing Library, has worked closely with the LGBTQ+ groups on campus. She said she thinks the amount of coverage for the LGBTQ+ community is improving.

“It’s better than it used to be, but we have to do more,” Marini said. “I see representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media.”

Jackson said there have been cases in which there is more representation regarding love in all communities. They said some media outlets and entertainment sources have been more proactive in showcasing the many different ways love is seen in the world.

“Recently I think we’re seeing more media and commercials and other stuff representing different kinds of love,” Jackson said. “Shows like ‘Parks and Recreation’ that depict Galentine’s Day I think did a really good job of showing that love isn’t just romantic or physical.”

Coleman Posey, an anthropology junior and student employee at the LGBTQ+ Pride Center, said he has seen more commercial displays of LGBTQ+ couples and appreciates the positive attention the community has received from it.

“I think most recently I would reference the Super Bowl,” Posey said. “There was a bunch of LGBTQ+ representation in Super Bowl ads. It’s cool to see that more relevant now than it has been previously.”

Jackson said it is crucial to recognize the importance of diversity in Valentine’s Day across the spectrums of gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.

“We can have love in so many different ways,” Jackson said. “The conversation is moving forward.”

The age-old romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day is now an all-encompassing celebration of love.

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