I’ve had some writers block around here lately. I fully intended for my March blog post to one celebrating all things Women, Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day, and more, but my heart and brain just wouldn’t let me write that post. I tried and tried, but nothing was flowing.
I wanted to write a post all about the fun time my girlfriend and I had at Drive ‘n Drag at the Rose Bowl last week, which was a super fun event that we definitely recommend if you are looking for Covid safe things to do in the SGV. I really wanted to combine my story of our fun night out with the new Gallup poll that showed an increase of individuals self reporting as LGBTQ+, but that will have to wait for another month that doesn’t feel as heavy.
I think it’s because it was hard for me to write a post celebrating women, when eight of our fellow sisters were murdered in Georgia by a man so corrupted by purity culture within the church, that he thought the solution to his own self-hatred was to go kill the women that represented his “temptations.” It was hard for me to write about the joy of Spring when we witnessed another rash of mass shootings in our nation. It was hard for me to write about light and fun things like St. Patrick’s Day, or come up with recipes for Pi Day when this month also marks the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the United States and all of the loss that we have endured as a world this year. I don't know about y'all but I'm feeling a little March Madness instead of having a Spring in my Step.
I recently briefly emailed with our wonderful President, Camila, about my writer’s block and in her wisdom, she told me, “We're human so it's great to let ourselves live all sides of this experience!” I'm so grateful to have friends that are wiser than I am, when I need to give myself some space to feel all the things. If you are feeling the heaviness this month, take Camila’s wise advice and let yourself live in that experience as well. If you aren't feeling the heaviness, let yourself live in that experience as well! Be yourself and enjoy each moment we have.
Get some extra rest, go for a walk, call up a friend, drink an extra glass of water, brew up your favorite tea/coffee, snuggle under a cozy blanket, take a hot shower, do whatever looks like rest and self care to you. If you want more of Camila’s sage advice, reach out to her, become a volunteer on our amazing team, or join one of our many support groups! We will get through this, friends, and we will be better on the other side.
Be Kind To Yourself!
By: Kristen Pinchbeck
I can’t believe it is already almost the second week of February. 2021 has felt like a whole year unto itself and like it has gone by in blink. February is the month of love, as well as Black History Month, and LGBTQ+ History Month. Later this month we will be talking about Black History Month as well as LGBTQ+ History Month, but for today we are going to talk about some Valentine’s Ideas!
Valentine’s Day looks a little different this year. Cupid is wearing a mask, and Cupid’s love arrow looks a lot like a vaccine needle this year. While it might be hard to surprise your loved one with a house full of roses like Patrick Dempsey did for Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama because you both are working from home, there are still some ways that you can make the day special.
5 At Home/Covid Safe Valentine’s Day Date Ideas
Cook dinner together
This can be a great way to spend some extra time together. Maybe pick a whole theme for your meal (italian, mexican, chinese, or even fast food like burgers and fries). Start by preparing an appetizer you can snack on while you make the main course. Put on some music, maybe share a glass of wine. Make a main course and then a desert to enjoy together after.
Movie Night In
My girlfriend set up the most amazing movie night in for our anniversary last year. She made posters that were movie themed, set up a whole “red carpet” hallway leading to the movie “theater”- our spare room. She transformed the spare room into the most amazing home theater with a concession stand, movie projector, a comfy sitting area with a blanket fort and led lights for soft lighting above us. It was seriously amazing and we hated to have to take it down.
Plan a hike/picnic at a social distanced park or in your backyard
I don’t know about you guys, but with how much we all have to be inside these days, getting out in some sunshine and fresh air is always restorative for me. Getting outside with your person for a beautiful hike, or even just to a local park for a picnic can be a great way to connect with each other and also be doing good things for your mental health.
At Home Spa Night
The last year has left all of us feeling pretty spent. An at home spa day where you both feel pampered could be the perfect way to spend your Valentine’s Day this year. Get some bath bombs with essential oils, light a couple candles, put on some soft music, take turns giving each other massages with a nice massage oil, use a couple restorative face masks. Use it as a time to pamper each other and relax together.
Set up a whole Date Night in your house
Each room in your house becomes a different date “location”. You can start in the kitchen, or even outside on your porch or patio for drinks. Then you can move to your dining room that has been set up like a romantic restaurant with candles and flowers for your dinner/main course. Maybe get take out from your favorite restaurant, or from a restaurant that is special to you like where you had your first date. Then, head to your living room for a night of dancing. If dancing isn’t your thing, you could turn off the lights and transform your living room into a home movie theater.
Just a few reminders for you this Valentine’s Day
Remember, it is supposed to be about showing your significant other that you love them, so don’t give in to the pressure around buying them the most gifts (unless gifts are their love language of course). Also, remember that our LGBT Valentines days are just as valid as heterosexual Valentine’s Days, even if our representation is very small. I don’t know if you guys needed to hear that, but I know I sure did/still do.
Single this Valentine’s Day?
Take this day to love yourself! Like our amazing Rue Paul said, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anyone else?" Have a date at home with yourself, buy yourself some flowers if you like them, set up a movie night, have a spa night, connect with other single friends for a Galentine’s/Malentine’s Day (yes guys, it’s ok to have a group of friends you want to celebrate with), and celebrate the other relationships you have in your life (family, friends, siblings, coworkers, etc.). If this past year has taught us anything, it is that we take the relationships in our lives for granted. Let’s make Valentine’s 2021 about more than just the chocolates, but about showing all the people in our lives that we love them.
I hope everyone has a safe and love filled Valentine’s Day!
Be Kind To Yourself!
The San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center stands with our mission and is committed to fostering a safer and more inclusive SGV for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our Board of Directors is saddened to learn about the violence committed against First Works Baptist Church in El Monte early this morning. We understand that cultivating a safe and inclusive environment means we must advocate for a respectful dialogue to reach an understanding, if not acceptance. The pandemic has intensified and clearly exposed the pervasiveness of violence against all individuals. We as an organization vow to acknowledge the world we live in and to take a stand against violence wherever it is.
While we strongly condemn the Church’s persecution of women and LGBTQ+ individuals, we know that the only way to create an inclusive society that celebrates the diversity of our community is through nonviolence. From the conquest of our lands, violence on our frontline care workers to domestic violence at home, our communities across borders have and continue to fight gender-based and militarized violence. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
In the harsh face of LGBTQ+ hate, we understand that promoting our community’s well being requires us to be proactive and committed. We are grateful to the thousands of individuals in the El Monte community who have stepped up to show their support for their LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors, and we encourage you to continue to use your voice to fight for justice. In 2021, we are going to move forward to spread love and acceptance to future generations instead of digressing to violence. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and communities that were affected by this violence.
We would like to advise everyone to stay away from the church and allow the city and its officials to continue their active investigation. If you have information related to this morning’s bombing at First Works Baptist Church, we ask that you please notify the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.
With Hope and Unity,
The Board of Directors
San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center