2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Graphic by Daman Singh

Inclusive celebrations: Making Galentine’s Day a trans-affirming space

By Dianne Miranda, February 12 2024—

For many, February is a month of celebration of love. For some, it is a season that continues to uphold heteronormative ideas and expectations, especially for those who do not necessarily fit the cis-heterosexual mould. 

Galentine’s Day is celebrated on Feb. 13, a day before Valentine’s Day, and was popularized by Leslie Knope on the show Parks and Recreation. The holiday has gained considerable traction since. Galentine’s Day celebrations are centred around celebrating platonic, historically female, relationships and connections. 

Catchlines such as “chicks before dicks”, “uteruses before duderuses” or “ovaries before brovaries” can cloud the day. Thus, this day can feel like it is only contributing to a climate dominated by trans and queer exclusion with stereotypical definitions of femininity and the erasure of those that may lie in between the binaries. 

This oversight surrounding Galentine’s Day often translates into the questioning of who is and can be considered to be a “gal”. Those who are forgotten are usually trans and non-binary folks and there often exists a lack of accessible, inclusive and safe spaces for celebrations of the day. 

Although there are some arguments that Galentine’s Day is simply a celebration of friendship despite the name, the nature of the term is and has historically been gendered. 

Language is important and can shift not only dialogue but also attitudes and actions. It plays a pivotal role in creating an inclusive environment. As a result, there have been a number of variations made to the name such as Palentine’s Day or Gal Pals’ Day that challenge binaries, our notions and assumptions about gender identity, and broaden the definition of gals since the feminine experience is not one-dimensional.

Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day, like most, are aspects of our already consumeristic heteronormative society. Celebrating love in all its forms should not feel restrictive or policed by ideas or expectations of whom the celebration is for. 

Inclusivity is not simply inviting everyone to the table, it is about creating and thinking about how we can make these celebrations more meaningful and welcoming. It should not be simply accommodation or tolerance, it should be a proactive reflection on how we can dismantle societal barriers that have excluded trans and non-binary folks from these environments. 

By actively ensuring that we make the celebrations of Galentine’s Day a trans-affirming space, these celebrations can truly reflect the core of what the day is all about — as Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec said, “what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

This article is a part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet