5 Ways to Celebrate Queer Love for Valentine's Day 2024
Valentines can be complicated for those who have grown up queer. Perhaps you felt removed from the heteronormative romantic ideals that were shown in what felt like every single television ad, or maybe you have your own negative associations with the holiday from past discrimination growing up. Or, if you’re anything like me, you remember rolling your eyes in despair watching every straight person pick up a last-minute bunch of dying supermarket roses - yet somehow still wouldn’t mind receiving those wilted petals from the right person.
However you feel towards Valentine’s Day, if you do want to mark the occasion this year, there are several different ways you can celebrate romantic and platonic queer love.
Celebrate V-Day in your own way with your partner
Despite what you saw growing up, Valentine’s Day really can be more than just forcing your way through a three-course love-is-eternal set menu in a loud and crowded restaurant. If you and your significant other want to mark the occasion this year, there are plenty of ways to do it in your own special way - after all, that’s pretty much what Valentine’s Day was made for!
Maybe you could buy the ingredients for your favourite dinner and cook up a storm in the kitchen, finally finish that series you’ve both been dragging yourself through for months - or even play catch-up if one of you has secretly continued ahead…
In the spirit of making V-Day exactly what you want it to be, we also asked some members of the LGBTQIA+ community how they like to celebrate the occasion with a partner:
“My preferred ways of showing affection/bonding is usually either making art for someone or sharing an experience with them, for example, learning a new skill.”
“I like spending an evening together doing some touch that you both like. The 3-minute game is good for exploring intimacy this way.”
P is for Pal-entines
If you’d rather spend the evening with your closest friends and loved ones, this occasion is the perfect opportunity to get together with your nearest and dearest - what better way to pin down even the hardest of friends to get ahold of? We’ll never get tired of saying that chosen family are real family, and “Palentines” is the perfect example of this in practice.
Here are just a few examples of what you could do:
Host a potluck dinner and get everyone to bring along their favourite dish. Or, if you quite fancy the idea of seven Cupid-themed cocktails, book a table in a restaurant and get spying on everyone else’s romantic dates.
Show your pals just how much they mean to you by getting them a one-of-a-kind gift from a queer retailer. If you do fancy buying a box of Valentine's chocs, make sure you ask first if everyone enjoys Ferrero Rocher.
Send a Palentines card to your loved ones, because after all, everyone deserves the joy of handwritten mail - provided no one in your building nicks it first.
Host an LGBTQIA+ themed Valentine’s party and invite everyone who you think wouldn’t want to be alone this evening, as well as those who can bring some plus ones you might not have met before…
Go speed dating as a group. Even if none of you meet the person of your dreams, you’ll definitely have some great stories to share.
Explore the LGBTQIA+ history in your area… it is LGBT history month , after all!
Throw a queer movie night
Change the Valentine's narrative by being inundated with films and shows that focus on queer love and romance. Whether you’re watching with your partner, or you’ve invited your chosen family over for a movie marathon, there are absolutely tons of LGBTQIA+ movies out there for an evening wrapped up under your warmest sofa blanket. Netflix now has its own queer category , while you can browse LGBTQIA+ movies on Prime. For those with Disney +, there’s a Pride category with plenty of queer films and TV shows.
Will you watch Brokeback Mountain again and be dismayed at the fact Jack and Ennis only ate beans on the mountain before they got together? Or maybe sneakily start looking at cheap flights to Italy mid-way through Call Me By Your Name? If you do want to spend the night outside of your living room, you could even go and check out the hotly-anticipated , All of Us Strangers, with Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. At least that’s one way to get the gays together in one room…
Give a gift you won’t want to throw out
Have you ever wondered what happens to those massive cuddly bears with heart-shaped feet that cry I'm beary in love with you? I’m sure the answer isn't great. Instead, you can give someone a present they hopefully won’t want to regift by shopping small this year; if you do want to give a gift to someone special in your life, romantic or not, there are plenty of great independent queer businesses worth checking out that sell some great one-of-a-kind gifts for V-Day:
These handmade drawings and illustrations are perfect for celebrating trans bodies - and great trans sex.
Even the smallest Valentine's gift can make someone’s day, like these fab queer pins and stickers.
These incredible stained-glass decorations will make your home the envy of all your friends - some of them are even butt-stuff-themed.
Be your own Valentine
Valentine’s Day is a nice little reminder that your happiness should always come first. As important as it is to tell your significant other and chosen family just how important they are, you also need to tell yourself, too. If you need to embody Miley while scanning your Clubcard through on a big bunch of daisies, then do it. If you need to hear RuPaul’s infamous mantra just one more time to click buy on that new art print you’ve been eyeing up online, it’s okay.
There are so many different ways you can be your own Valentine this year. While it might sound a little cringe, writing a love letter to yourself can bring you the same warmth as those Gü pudding pots - which if you know, is pretty hard to come by. Taking yourself out shopping, enjoying a movie night in, or even just cooking yourself your favourite meal (Gü pudding pots also acceptable) are all ways you can show a little self-appreciation. After all, the only thing better than buying ingredients for your favourite meal, is the knowledge that you don’t have to share it with anyone either!
Happy Valentine's Day from Rainbow & Co
Whatever you’re doing this Valentine's Day, remember that every queer person will have their own way of celebrating Valentine's. Some might hold romantic and sexual attraction in a different light, and some may not wish to participate in Valentine's Day at all, so it's important to respect each individual’s choices.
Furry handcuffs and heart-shaped lockets aside, the most important part of Valentine’s Day is to find a way to celebrate that feels meaningful to you. But please, no flash mobs - we’re not as bad as the straights yet.