Valentine’s Day ‘very heterosexual,’ UTSC students say

A boy and a girl hold hands, about to kiss, tiny hearts flying in the background like sparks.

We’re used to being bombarded by these images as early as mid-January.

But what if you’re gay? Or lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual or queer? What do you make of these images then?

Valentine’s Day for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Scarborough seems to be almost non-existent.

The University of Toronto in Scarborough has an LGBTQ group called SC(OUT). Stephen Cacilhas met his boyfriend Vincent Li at their lounge on campus last year.

They’ve been dating ever since. They both agree that Feb. 14 just never makes it to their list of required celebrations.

“Personally I don’t care much about Valentine’s Day,” Cacilhas said. “I don’t know if Vincent does.”

“Me neither,” Li said.

SC(OUT) is not jumping on the roses-and-candy bandwagon, citing a stronger focus on upcoming advocacy campaigns as a reason.

Victoria Ovando, political coordinator for SC(OUT), finds that Valentine’s Day preparation falls short every year in terms of cards targeting the gay community.

“They’re very limited because there’s a lot of different forms of love,” she said. “Most of what you see is very heterosexual.”

Cacilhas said the LGBTQ lounge on campus displayed a number of gay Valentine’s Day cards last year.

But walking into the greeting card store at Scarborough Town Centre doesn’t turn up any cards targeted towards the gay community on the Valentine’s Day shelves.

UTSC student Stephen Cacilhas says Valentine’s Day seems targeted purely at heterosexual people.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/ms_stephen-cailhas-020911.mp3]

“The most obvious example everyone talks about is the cards,” Cacilhas said. “Wherever you go you’ll see a card not only heterosexual but usually white man, white woman together.”

A gay student activist, who wished to remain unnamed, said he doesn’t care if it’s straight love or gay love.

“I just want love,” he said.

Observer Radio News: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s normal to be bombarded with images of a man and a woman holding hands, with a giant red heart framing them in the background.

But what about the gay community? There are not many public images featuring gay love around Valentine’s Day.

This is surprising considering that a recently reported proportion of same-sex couples in Toronto is more than 21 per cent.

We learn more from Maryam Shah.

[audio:http://ondemand.centennialcollege.ca/CCradio/news/MaryamShah_gayvday.mp3]

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