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7 Ways To Celebrate A Queer-Friendly Valentine's Day

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. If you love it, you're probably preparing to put on your favorite red dress or shirt, cook heart-shaped pancakes, make cards for your friends and loved ones, and plan an especially memorable date. If you hate it, I'm assuming you'll ignoring Cupid's Day entirely. But if you're not in a heteronormative relationship, or if you’ve just never bought into that gender norm BS, know that you can still celebrate Valentine’s Day in a queer-friendly way. So, perhaps, you don't have to hate this day dedicated entirely to love — all love — after all.

As a bi/queer woman in a relationship with a man, I often feel like my holidays (whether they be Valentine's Day, or any other celebratory day out of the year) fall into the trap of heteronormativity. It can be frustrating when I feel like I can’t connect as much to my queer identity, thanks to an exclusive message pushed on us all, as a culture, that really boils down to the outdated notion that love can only be shared between a man and a woman. Additionally, I frequently find myself having to explain my sexuality and, at times, even defend it to others. And on Valentine's Day in particular, describing my identity ad nauseam and fighting for my worth isn't my idea of a "sexy" good time.

So this list is for the other queer moms who might be feeling like they need a little #loveislove in their lives. This is also a list for the allies in the bunch, who want to make sure their kids grow up in an inclusive environment, knowing there’s more to romance than princes and princesses and girl-meets-boy rom coms.

Watch Queer Romance Films

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to snuggle up on the couch with your partner and enjoy a few movies, right? Skip The Notebook, ditch the latest installment of Fifty Shades of Grey, and stream some queer-friendly flicks. And sure, you could watch some of the tried and true films (Brokeback Mountain, The Kids Are Alright), but why not reach a little further? A few more suggestions: Show Me Love, Imagine Me and You, Weekend, and Moonlight are all particularly great.

Buy (Or Make) Queer-Friendly Valentine Cards

It’s 2018, and that means even Hallmark has LGBTQIA Valentine’s Day cards. But I suggest doing a little more digging (because there really are a lot of options out there). Etsy, of course has a ton, so start sifting through your choices as soon as possible so you can send them to your special someone (or someones!) in time for Valentine's Day.

Book A Night At A Queer-Owned Bed & Breakfast

If you’re looking to book a night away with your sweetie (and you’re actually able to find a sitter), you might as well support LGBTQ businesses, right? Purple Roofs is a website that lists dozens of gay-owned and/or gay-friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts. Some of the establishments listed will even give you a small discount if you mention Purple Roofs.

Dine At An LGBTQ-Run Restaurant

Do a little Googling to find a local restaurant that happens to be LGBTQ-owned. Or, at the very least, find a spot that's openly queer friendly. This is not to say these are the only places to visit during Valentine's Day, of course, but the way I see it, why not give these inclusive establishments your business? You can even bring the kids along, if you like.

Make A Valentine's Day Donation To An LGBTQ Organization

Love isn’t just about loving the people in our own lives. It’s also about giving to others. People are always trying to give during the holiday season, but what about the rest of the year? Start a family tradition and make a donation to one of your favorite LGBTQ non-profit organizations. If you’re looking for ideas, there’s always the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Literary, The Trevor Project, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. You can even do a quick Google search, find the nearest LGBTQ center in your area, and sign up to volunteer.

Buy Your V-Day Gifts From Queer-Owned Businesses

There are so, so, so many rad queer-owned businesses out there, you guys. From apparel shops like Trans Is Beautiful and Kirrin Finch, to places where you can buy home goods like OtherWild, queer-centric jewelry like Love and Pride, and makeup shops made for every gender expression like Fluide, there are just way too many cool places to buy gifts from. There’s basically zero need to go anywhere else.

Pick Up Some Toys From A Feminist Sex Shop

This last part is just for you, fellow queer mama (and maybe for your partner, too). Valentine’s Day and sex toys totally go hand in hand. If you’re looking to spice things up (with or without a significant other), you’ll want to check out a feminist sex shop. Why a feminist sex shop? Well, they’ll often have way more options for those who don’t fit into heteronormative relationships (so, you know, not just a few dildos and teddys). Try Early2Bed, Babeland, and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health Shop for starters, which all feature plenty of great toys for people of all gender expressions.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.