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Valentines Day is a great moment to celebrate diverse relationships

Valentine's Day is a great moment to celebrate diverse relationships

 February 14, 2022

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February is famous for the day of love – St Valentine’s Day.

An annual worldwide event, Valentine's Day provides a chance for people to celebrate love in all its forms - and the need to acknowledge the importance and inclusion of diverse, positive relationships is important as ever. 

History of love 

The history of Valentine’s Day is somewhat murky, with many theories over its origin. However, according to the Independent, there were two St Valentines, one of which was Valentine of Rome. A catholic priest in the third century AD, St Valentine was alive during the ruling of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who forbade men from marrying. St Valentine, however, is said to have helped Christian couples marry in secret. In a somewhat tragic turn, following the Emperor’s discovery of St Valentine’s undercover work, he was ordered to be beheaded, with the tragic act said to have taken place on 14th February, 270 AD. 

According to legend, St Valentine restored the sight of the Judge’s blind daughter, and wrote her a letter before his execution, which was signed, ‘Your Valentine.”

Celebrating diverse relationships 

Celebrations across the world differ. In Slovenia the day is linked to agriculture, Argentina devotes an entire week to the event known as Sweetness Week, while women in South Africa pin the name of their loved one on the sleeve for the day. 

However, while the day has romantic connotations, U.S. media force advocating for lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LGBT) acceptance GLAAD says that LGBT couples are often excluded from Valentine's Day media coverage – and LGBT couples of color receive even less attention in both mainstream and people of color media.

According to GLAAD, LGBT people and relationships are also often excluded by the kinds of language media professionals choose to use.

“GLAAD encourages media to use words and descriptions that can be universally applied to all couples – gay and straight – and that respect the significance of their commitments,” says the organization. 

Likewise, they often don’t include the experiences of bisexual and transgender people in relationships. 

Positive advances reinforcing inclusion

There are, however, positive advances with a growing number of media sources committed to reporting on weddings, civil unions and commitment ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

“In 2008, six years after persuading The New York Times to open its Weddings/Celebrations pages to same-sex couples and launching its Announcing Equality campaign, GLAAD now reports that 1,049 newspapers – nearly 72 percent of all daily newspapers in the United States – now accept wedding and/or commitment ceremony announcements for gay and lesbian couples. In late 2002, only 70 newspapers said they would print such announcements,” according to GLAAD. 

GLAAD also encourages the awareness that LGBT couples are as diverse as the rest of society…  “please also remember that they are as diverse as the rest of society, crossing lines of gender, race, age, income, class, family structure, religion, geography and political affiliation.”

Dating app OKCupid also recognizes the need for diverse representation, and has previously launched a range of digital cards designed to be ‘relationship diverse.’ Designed in partnership with creative agency Mekanism, the cards featured messages and illustrations to represent the breadth of identities of the app’s users. 

Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hobley told Adweek: “The reality is that Valentine’s Day cards don’t reflect the kind of people, connections and love that exist today. Most are out of touch and outdated. This year, connection and love are more important than ever. So OkCupid partnered with a variety of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists to create a collection of free digital Valentine’s Day cards that are more reflective of the world we live in.”

How are you championing diversity and inclusion this Valentine’s Day that helps highlight diverse relationships in all their forms? 

Enjoy a role in an inclusive environment 

Prime employers for women celebrate and champion diversity of all kinds. 

Check out these inclusive employers and consider their career options.


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