Saint Valentine’s must be a day of conquest to the LGBT community; a day where we show the world that our love is so common as well as special the same way straight couples are. Expressing love is not a crime as we explained with legal arguments. We must become more visible. Jaime Parada, Chilean gay politician and historian, tells us: “[...] I call on each one of us to take care of ourselves and, if you can, you should know that you would improve the social landscape if you hold hands with your partner.” Expressing love is not only our right but by doing so we contribute to a positive change in our environment. The more visible we are, the better will be because the rest of society will see that we are also humans, and as humans, we also have rights.
As Toni Reis told us, family is love. Love is diverse, each story is different as well as each family. But the feeling is the same as our humanity. Our families can be made of mother-child, grandparents-grandchildren, uncle-nephew, brothers or sisters, cousins, straight couples with or without children and gay or lesbian couples with or without children. Scholars such as sociologists or anthropologists have classified many different kinds of families in human societies. But this is not only a matter of science, but also a matter of love.
Solidarity is done among equals; love and empathy are key to boost solidarity and recover our humankind. In a toxic environment that creates destructive phantasmagorias to instill hate in our societies. We must destroy constructively such ghosts by reality itself: with the fact that we are humans and we love, that love is always stronger than hate.
Today love many times represents death, prohibition, persecution. Darkness and secret. Many couples cannot formalize their unions. Loving for them is forbidden unlike other couples. The reason is because they are same-sex couples; an unacceptable injustice. There are families suffering because the real destroyers of families cannot stand true love and relentlessly try to destroy all those families that do not match ‘their’ only model of family. We do not want any family to suffer. We want all families to be happy and to love each other will all rights.
The landscape is grim. Hate wants to emerge and it’s growing. But we must not hide. Against darkness, tempest and violence, we keep our flames alight and we hold hands stronger than ever. Although the tide is high and the waves are dangerous, if we stay together, we will remain standing on our feet and we can keep moving.
Saint Valentine’s legend has the same message of loving despite adversity. The story tells us that the couples had to love secretly because the emperor wanted young people to be soldiers full time; love interposed in his plans of perpetual war to keep and expand the borders of the Empire. While it is true that there are many different versions of the story -as with myths and folk tales- we know the end of the story. After Saint Valentine’s death, couples could marry freely and live their love without keeping a secret.
Our families and partners must also see the light of day. Love triumphs when it does not need to hide, when we can freely walk the streets, hold hands, celebrate this date of love and the 364 remaining days of the year as any other couple or family: one that is unique but at the same time equal to the rest.
This February 14th, we gay, lesbians, bisexual, trans people, also love. And we, couples, love in the light of day because adversity does not stop us. It makes us stronger.