Love More. Label Less.

Every year as Cupid’s favorite day approaches we become more cognizant of the two types of people around us. Type A: the heart-over-heels in love and dressed in the best reds and pinks in their closets while making a date out of it type; and then Type B: the ones who hate the mushy cards, sweet candy, and all the Brangelinas of the world and for whom the thought of the very day triggers mental groans.

So we decided to create a third type of Valentine-r: a Type C, because hey, why celebrate one less holiday? As members of the Type C, this Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating love of all forms, colors, genders, religions, cultures, and places (hopeless places too #S/[email protected]) because to love, is to love all.


And as we celebrate love, let us take that time to encourage ourselves and others to be mindful and unprejudiced. As we look around, let us remember that our strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Let us bash the societal demands that are expected of our relationships and learn to love all equally, for people of quality don’t fear equality.

 

Amanda and Danny

Danny, Amanda, Bailey (the dog)

Danny, Amanda, Bailey (the dog)

“It's not "brave" of us to love each other and be together. Love is love, we don't see it as something diverse or political. Different kinds of people can love each other, but at the end of the day, love is a common language.”–Amanda Ashbaker

“We actually met on Tinder, when neither of us were looking for anything serious, but after the first few dates, we both realized that there was something real between us. Almost two years later, we're each other's best friends, partners in crime, and co-parents to a four-month-old puppy named Bailey. Our most recent date was at a flash tattoo fundraiser for Planned Parenthood where we got the last two slots for feminist themed tattoos.”


“We're both busy on Valentine's Day but on Thursday, Amanda is making a steak dinner. We both hope it turns out well (or medium rare, hah-hah). If not, there's always Seamless!"–Danny Shneyderman

 

Cheyne and Mariano

“Luckily for us, we are an interracial couple on modern times in a modern city full of interracial relationships. Although we are happy and no one in our family or friend group disapproves because of our different (although not that much) skin colors, there are places around the world where this might be the case. We can only hope that these places and its people might progress. We can add our little grain of hope to this problem.”–Cheyne Campbell and Mariano Flores

 

 Tori Spainhour

“The more I've grown to love myself and my body, the bolder I have been able to be with my fashion choices! Instead of covering up and hiding parts of myself that the world tells me I should be embarrassed about, I feel more excited about making bold outfit choices that stand out in a crowd.”


“The best thing about my relationship is how much my boyfriend accepts me for who I am. Most people have a hard time looking past how much someone weighs or what they look like, but he has always been committed to loving every part of me and encouraging me when I might feel down about myself.”–Tori Spainhour

 

Ashley and Aaron

Ashley & Aaron-3.jpg

“We take pride in being interracial and don't let our skin dictate our lives or our relationship.”–Ashley Chan and Aaron Ruiz

 

Victor Leonard

“Blackness in its cultural sense is so built on love and collective identity, and the strength that we have through our connection based on struggle, pain, love, and hope. Black women have taught me how to love unconditionally, especially when being a black woman is, in the words of Malcolm X, the most unprotected, neglected, and disrespected person in America. They remain the cornerstone of love, hope, joy and strength in this country and the black community. The black women in my life show me every day that no matter the state of the world, there is always more love to give.”


“I have no Valentine this year so it'll probably be a group of us just chilling and watching a movie or going out. And that’s fine with me!”–Victor Leonard

 

Ridwana Islam

“When I think of the word “love,” I think of acceptance and community. My experiences being an activist have taught me many lessons such as facing ignorance and discrimination with love and dialogue. I remember first taking my hijab as a sign of religious modesty, but it has become so much more than that: it’s a symbol of self-empowerment. In this very moment, history is being made, the political state of our country is changing and becoming toxic. There are policies that are preventing people in need from immigrating, buildings have been vandalized, and families are being torn apart and deported. People have been watching, but this time they are acting. People from diverse backgrounds are coming together this very moment and fighting for what they believe. People from different religious groups are joining forces and fighting discrimination and hate. That is why I have never been so proud and confident to wear my hijab. This Valentine’s Day I will be celebrating the love for my community. As an activist who has experienced and have been a part of many political movements, this year has been my year! Love from all nationalities, communities and religions have come together during these times to show the world, that we are here and we are the definition of love. I’ve never been so proud to be a Bengali Hijabi Muslim Woman!”–Ridwana Islam


Whether you’re a Type A, B or C, just remember to love all equally, for as Winston Churchill once said, “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common.” Let’s celebrate it today!


Photographed by: Belle Yau and Alicia Gill

Written and Directed by: Maisha Kabir

Models: Amanda Ashbaker, Danny Shneyderman, Cheyne Campbell, Mariano Flores, Ashley Chan, Aaron Ruiz, Victor Leonard, Tori Spainhour, Ridwana Islam

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