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Love is Love

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University of Virginia

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Love is Love

UVA LGBTQ Center holds their annual Valentines Day celebration

Staci McKean

3.12.18

At just after four o'clock on February 14th, a sea of red "Love is Love" shirts gathered on the steps of the Rotunda and belted out the Good Old Song.

It was the LGBTQ Center's annual Valentine's Day event where students of all orientations and gender-identities gather to celebrate every kind of love. The LGBTQ Center at the University of Virginia was founded under the Office of the Dean of Students in 2001 with a mission of fostering the development of LGBTQ+ and allied students, faculty, staff, alumni, etc.


Students hang out and eat some snacks at the reception in the LBGTQ Center

According to this year's event flyer, Love is Love was started by the Center as a celebration "meant to create greater social awareness at the University of Virginia and beyond." It also was designed in order to combat the historically heteronormative narrative of Valentine's Day and create an atmosphere for support for anyone struggling to see themselves represented in the community during the Holiday.

"Love is Love. It's not about what it looks like, it's about how it feels."

In the week leading up to the event, students were invited to stop by the LGBTQ Center and pick up a free tee shirt. This year is extra special, as it is the first year the logo on the tee shirt was designed by a student.

Students and faculty of all orientations were welcomed to come out and "show some love," following a reception at the Center, where the Good Old Song was sung out loud. Even a four-legged friend showed up to show some support!


A four-legged friend sports a "Lovable" bandana and howls along to the Good Old Song.

Sarah Leser (she/her) a member of the Center, says that the singing is also a way to "combat the gay chant in the good old song."

Cory Weller (he/him), a 5th year grad student, shares his reasons why the movement is so important. He says that it's "great for people who might not initially be comfortable to know that there's that huge accepting community."

Weller even recalls wearing a shirt from a prior year around the greater Charlottesville community and relates that "the community loves the message, and it's a great to be able to tell them about the event."

"Something as simple as wearing a shirt can let people know they can be comfortable."


Students and Faculty alike belt out the Good Old Song lyrics.

Leser also shares her experience in that "growing up, Valentine's day was boyfriend and girlfriend, and it was nice to find out about the campaign - that there was an event specifically for LGBTQ+ and it was a nice break from the norm."

Whether you're out or not, questioning, an ally, or perhaps looking for a little bit of friendship and community on a day that can be alienating for so many, the Love is Love campaign is a strong, uplifting event that highlights some of the greatest members of this University.

The LGBTQ Center is located in the center of Grounds, Newcomb Hall Lower Level room 42, and is open Monday through Friday 10am-5pm.