Why not tell your partner you love them with words and a foot rub, but show your community you love them with cold hard cash. Photo: Ingrid Kurtz
I'm a pretty ambitious woman. As a card carrying angry lesbian, I can't be satisfied with merely destroying the sanctity of marriage. I want to make sure my community disrupts all public declarations of love. I'm lookin' at you, Valentine's Day.
You can't destroy something without researching it first so I spent some time in the heterosexual deep web finding out what it's all about. I have always held the view that, as far as holidays go, twee and saccharine Valentine's Day is pretty silly.
I like my romance spontaneous and creative, so being one of millions receiving a bunch of roses or a heart-shaped box of chocolates – while pretty and delicious – doesn't appeal. I also like my romance and sex on the daily, rather than as a socially mandated annual special occasion (unless it's Wednesday night and I am watching The Good Wife at which time BACK OFF).
However, after an extensive few minutes of rigorous Wikipedia research, it seems to me that Valentine's Day is exactly the holiday we queers should be celebrating. And no, not because #loveislove. While I am always for equal rights, I find the equal marriage campaign about as sweet and boring as your average wedding.
You see, Saint Valentine was was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry because the leaders thought single men were better in battle AND for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted by the Roman Empire. Apparently, Valentine's Day is less about love and more about refusing to obey conservative overlords – now THAT is a tradition I can get on board with.
With that in mind, I have abandoned 32 years of disdain to compile one of those horrendous listicles telling you how to celebrate (because nothing says love like copying someone else's generic gift ideas).
1. Sex toys
Statistically, chances are if you're queer you have a lot of sex already so you don't need a stinking hallmark holiday to get laid. But Sunday's as good a day as any to splash out on a new sex toy or engage in a little role play. Why not honour Saint Valentine by dressing up as sexy Roman soldiers or watching this NSFW video of Traditional Turkish Oil Wrestling which I am pretty sure looks a lot like Friday night in Ancient Rome.
2. A plebiscite
For the princely sum of $158.4million you can buy your ladylove a national vote on her right to marry. Never mind the fact that polls show the majority of Australians support equal marriage and forget for a moment that the law can easily be changed by Parliament, there is NOTHING more romantic than allowing people completely unaffected by your relationship to vote on its worth. The best part? Tax-payers will foot the bill for your gift, making this a great option if you're a bit cheap.
3. A 'Riots not Diets' t-shirt
Traditionally, heterosexual culture as epitomised by modern day Valentine's is engaged in the subjugation of women. Nothing says 'thank the Goddess I'm a homo' like going all out feminist, and abandoning body shame and the weight loss industry in favour of civil disobedience and cute political t-shirts.
4. A Sledgehammer for Smashing the Patriarchy
5. A Break Up
Valentine's Day is sad times for single people who give a shit about Valentine's Day. Just because I think they're a bit silly doesn't mean they don't deserve our solidarity. Check your couple's privilege, have a fiery fight, break up and then call in sick on Feb 15 to have passionate make-up sex.
Making a gayby ain't cheap.
7. Tickets to watch women's sports
Men's sport gets way more funding, media coverage and support than women's so be a good little stereotypical lesbian and head to a ball game. While you're at it wear birkenstocks, listen to Tegan & Sara, buy your babe a cat and move in together after the second date.
8. Donation to a Women's or LGBTQI charity
I'm heaps glad you're in love. I love being in love too. I love kissing, trips to Coogee Women's Pool, weekends in the Mountains and embarrassing each other in public with dorky nicknames (not really, that last one is abhorrent and a dumpable offense).
But we spend BILLIONS OF DOLLARS buying each other cards and flowers and chocolates each Valentine's Day. Why not tell your partner you love them with words and a foot rub, but show your community you love them with cold hard cash. Here are some of my faves:
- The very aptly named Send Hope Not Flowers
- Camp Out: an annual camp for LGBTIQ, and Sex &/or Gender Diverse teens and their allies
- ACON (check out their Women's Project, Claude, for safe sex fun)
- Lou's Place: A daytime refuge for women in Sydney
- Sustainable Health Enterprises: helping women jumpstart social businesses to manufacture and distribute affordable menstrual pads.
- Mudgin-Gal: an Indigenous Women's service
- Domestic Violence Victoria or a service and advocacy organisation from your town or State
- Blue Diamond Society: working with sexual minorities in Nepal
- Twenty10 and the Gay & Lesbian Counseling Service
- Women with Disabilities Australia
- Sex Workers Outreach Project
- Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
Maeve Marsden is a freelance writer, director, producer and performer best known for creating feminist cabaret act, Lady Sings it Better. She tweets from @maevegobash. Support her work at patreon.com/ladysingsitbetter