Valentine’s Day has been given such a heteronormative narrative that even with the seeming abundance of ways to celebrate; none favors sexual and gender minorities. It is impossible for two women to walk into a restaurant holding hands clad in red without raising suspicion or getting looks from passersby. Everyday LGBTIQ+ persons struggle to express their love but valentine’s day or period is especially hard on us because we are given a front row seat at basic privileges we are denied like to love and be loved openly.
Two LBQ women Joly and Jo under the companies Joly retreats and Jo campers came together to organize a three-day retreat for LBQ women from 12th to 14th February, 2022. The aim of this was to provide a safe space for LBQ women to express their love without fear of the usual things that happen to any LGBTIQ+ person that dares to exist loudly like stigma, discrimination and in extreme cases lynching and mob justice. The experience allows for these women to have more than just one day to reflect on themselves, their partners and fellow LBQ women with whom they are in the struggle.
The Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer women who attended got to enjoy “forbidden” things like holding hands away from the confines of the four walls of their homes. It was also a time for community counseling and sharing issues that would make us better individuals and partners as we are aware there is no relationship counseling in main stream mental health service providers tailored to LBQ relationship. The activities above all were fun as there were nightly bonfires, horse riding, camping and nature walks.
Joly and Jo say this is the first of many and LBQ women can look out excitedly for the subsequent events.