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Author Topic: Does Hallmark make a card for that?
CJT
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So, hey, Valentine's Day! I actually had school all day today so I missed out on some of the craziness, but a quick trip to the grocery store to grab some dinner supplies on my way was enough to give a jolt of heteronormativity. In case I'd forgotten, Hallmark and friends were right there to remind me that--get this!--Valentine's Day appears to be for straight people. Hmm. It also reminded me that I should stop at the store tomorrow to grab some half-price peanut butter cups, but that's another post.

So, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, it's possible that Valentine's Day can be kinda loaded anyway. But do you think that the holiday takes on any different meaning (positive, negative, or neutral, really) for folks who identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, pansexual, queer, or [insert gender diverse or non-heterosexual label here]?

There's a lot of hype out there, and plenty of big social and cultural messages, but what do they mean to YOU? Just curious.

Posts: 384 | From: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluejumprope
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For me, there aren't really any holidays I celebrate or find meaningful (I find my birthday personally meaningful, and I guess there are a few other anniversaries I take note of). If it weren't for the endless pictures of red velvet cake and heart-shaped sugar cookies in the food blogosphere over the last few days, I wouldn't know it was Valentine's day.

Around 2 pm today my partner realized what day it was and was like, "hey, it's Valentine's day." And we said "happy Valentine's day" and smiled at each other and went back to making lunch and talking about something else.

I think being queer makes it easier to not get sucked into the hubbub.

It reminds me a little of how weddings have been done in the queer community. On the one hand, I think a lot of us feel less drawn to having a ceremony in the first place, but if we do have one, I think we feel freer than straight people to make them our own, and create a celebration that is unique and personally meaningful.

[ 02-14-2009, 11:44 PM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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astrocyte
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YUM! Peanut butter cups!
I find the idea of a special day for expressions of love sort of weird? Like, let's get it out of the way for the rest of the year? But I guess it can have a positive meaning if you're queer. One year I had Romantic Dinner with the girl I was dating. That felt choice because we were in a restaurant with all kinds of different couples and groups of friends and it seemed like everyone was just doing their own thing.

If anyone gave me some kind of serious card or gift, though, I'd probably feel a bit grossed out, because of the commercial/courtly love associations that it has. Overall, I think it is a silly holiday, so this time around, whenever I passed my s/o anything, like a glass of water, I would look them in the eye and go "Will you be my Valentine?". And then have kisses.

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c0nejitab0nita
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I've actually never heard that valentines day isn't for the queer...I've never even thought about it. But I don't think its any different..because valentines day is for love...I think its a dumb holiday too =) its silly because you have everyday to show love, goive flowers and be romantic =)

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c0nejitab0nita

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mizchastain
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I'm single by choice and I find the fact that I'm expected to WANT to date mildly annoying. I don't want to date for the sake of having someone around, I don't have time at the moment because I'm trying to get my life in order in general, and I'm not really interested anyway. (May just be a late developer, but I'd think that I'd have had SOME reaction by the age of nineteen if I was ever going to. Probably to do with the Aspergers' somehow. I've had one or two crushes, but I'm pretty sure that if I actually had the opportunity to carry them out as it were, I'd say no.)
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CJT
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An interesting but only somewhat related note (especially since it's not really about queer anything) is that I just heard from one of my friends who is currently living in Korea. She was telling me about how they do Valentine's day there. She said that on Feb 14th, the Valentine's day tradition is that women give chocolate and gifts to their male partners. Not the other way around.

On March 14th, then, they celebrate "White Day", which is where men will give chocolate and gifts to women.

And then, interestingly, the next month--on April 14th--they celebrate Black Day, wherein all of the single people get together with their friends and go out and eat special noodles with a black bean sauce.

I kinda dig that there's something built in for singles, though there's also plenty of gender and relationship stuff implicated in the "women give gifts to men" and "men give gifts to women" aspect of V-Day and White Day.

I've never been particularly bothered by Valentine's Day as a queer person. In fact, I kinda love how cheezy it is. I break out the glitter and paper doilies and make cards for people, whip up ridiculous cupcakes, the whole deal. I embrace the ridiculousness of a fabricated consumer holiday!

And, in some ways, I wonder if the consumerism of the holiday itself is going to expand over the next few years to explicitly address the queer community, now that in many places it seems like there's more visibility around our community. Maybe Hallmark WILL make cards for that.

And, on a side note, bluejumprope said,
quote:

It reminds me a little of how weddings have been done in the queer community. On the one hand, I think a lot of us feel less drawn to having a ceremony in the first place, but if we do have one, I think we feel freer than straight people to make them our own, and create a celebration that is unique and personally meaningful.

Maybe it's my age coming through here, but I've been to a LOT of queer weddings in the past few years. Just a gentle reminder that even within queer relationships I think there's a lot of diversity in how weddings are done. I've been to some that seem just as structured and "traditional" (whatever that means) as hetero weddings. And some that weren't. But I think there are a lot of factors aside from just sexual orientation or gender identity that factor how we'd want (or if we'd want, as you pointed out) to do a wedding or commitment ceremony [Smile]
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Ecofem
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After stocking up on half-price candy (got the Reese's, what a great suggestion!), I am ready to reply to this thread. [Smile] I had always seen Valentine's Day as a celebration of friendship in a creative, hand-on, and cheesy way like you mentioned, CJ. I will admit that I am surprised to see how many people take it seriously, that they *have* to go to a fancy meal and get flowers and what have you. Then again, most people are working hard and enjoy a chance to do something special or be appreciated.

That said, it does remind me how big "traditional" expectations and expressions of "love" are in our culture: "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Susi (or whomever!) with the baby carriage." Recently, Valentine's Day has been a reminder of how there are many forms of love and positive relationships, as well as the unfortunate reality that these different forms of love, at least when it comes to the institution of marriage, are not viewed before law. It's something many queer people know too well, but something that extends also to people of varying immigration status, financial situation, and more.

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September
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I have never actually celebrated V-Day. I've never gotten a card or chocolates or flowers or been taken out to a fancy meal. Four the past four V-Days, this has been by choice - my partner and I aren't big celebrators (I like to make a big fuss over Xmas, but outside of that, we don't celebrate, not even birthdays or anniversaries) and we feel that we can express our love anytime WE want to, not when Hallmark tells us to. At the same time, I can sometimes be a cheezy romantic and I've sent him cutesy cards on V-Day.

Before that, because I'm queer, V-Day a lot of the time was just too complicated. It seems to be a day to not just celebrate your love, but do so openly. You always see so many females proudly showing off the flowers they got, for examples. It seems to be a day where the relationship is on display for everyone to see. And in all the queer relationships I've been in, either one of us, or both of us, weren't out. And you can't proudly display a relationship that no one's supposed to know about. So that has made me feel left out in the past. And in those years, it felt like I was forced not to celebrate V-Day because I wasn't included in it to begin with.

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Johanna
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moonlight bouncing off water
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I've never really done the valentines day thing either. Except when I was really young and we would make card boxes and walk around giving everyone in the class a card. I always disliked when people had the cards that came in a box, perforated , and bearing the image of a cartoon character. But I am only 14 and I've never been on a date (with a male or a female [I'm bisexual]) in my life. I just think it's silly.

Did you know that mothers day originally began when a woman's mother died and she asked everyone to wear a white flower to church in memoriam. She never wanted it to be a big celebration. Father's day came later it was a market ploy to sell more cards.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I've never really done the valentines day thing either. Except when I was really young and we would make card boxes and walk around giving everyone in the class a card. I always disliked when people had the cards that came in a box, perforated , and bearing the image of a cartoon character. But I am only 14 and I've never been on a date (with a male or a female [I'm bisexual]) in my life. I just think it's silly.

Did you know that mothers day originally began when a woman's mother died and she asked everyone to wear a white flower to church in memoriam. She never wanted it to be a big celebration. Father's day came later it was a market ploy to sell more cards.

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ipike
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for me, I dont give a damn aobut valentines day cause you know what, Im a gay male who has never had a partner! Think they should start making commercials with gay couples kissing and giving each other cards and roses.
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Ecofem
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Hey ipike, they actually do have a wide range (from kitschy to cute to touching) LGBT-themed greeting cards to commemorate holidays and special occasions. You can often see them in-person at gay bookstores or online at places like here and there. I do wish they were more prevalent all over but while I do actually like Valentine's Day, I'm not a big fan of cheesy cards and do agree that there should be more types of couples represented. [Smile]
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Djuna
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I've never celebrated Valentine's Day either, although I have noticed how these days waiters etc. seem to take same-sex dinner couples in their stride (although I've only lived in Birmingham and London, both big cities, since I came out).
One thing that does bother me is that in terms of greetings cards, the gender connotations of the various designs mean you often have to go to larger places if you're LGBT. Same for anniversaries.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Haleylynn
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Outside of elementary school, Valentines Day has never been that special for me. Our school has the option for people to send candy to their friends, or bf/gf. As someone who has had the role of watching people receive candy instead of receiving it myself, it seems like the people that receive such things usually appear to have the same self-absorbed personality. I've spoken with my friends, and the consensus is, queer or not, single or romantically-involved, V-day seems to mainly exclude than include, and reinforce to single people that they are more or less alone.
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