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A Bloody Good Time on Valentine’s with the CSGD

Home Blog A Bloody Good Time on Valentine’s with the CSGD

April 8th, 2024

This February, the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity (CSGD) at Duke University embarked on a remarkable journey to reimagine Valentine’s Day, hosting a special Kickback Friday Event with a non-traditional theme for the holiday. In the spirit of inclusivity and celebration, the CSGD aimed to create a safe and fun environment for queer, trans, and allies to socialize, demonstrating to Duke students the importance of validating and embracing all forms of love within the LGBTQIA+ community through the infusion of a unique aesthetic.

A Different Kind of Red

To explore different kinds of love on Valentine’s Day, the CSGD avoided traditional themes and instead went with a gothic vampire aesthetic. A white chocolate fondue fountain was dyed red to mimic the color of blood. Attendees could create red crepe, Victorian-style carnations and roses. “It was a flipped over on its head version of Valentine’s,” remarked a staff member in attendance. Select queer episodes of Adventure Time, a fantasy animated television series, played in the background. “I loved watching Bubbline again,” said a student, referencing the sapphic relationship between the characters Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum. Another student added, “it was cool getting to watch just the episodes of Marceline and Princess Bubblegum together.” 

Fostering Reflection and Connection

The event underscored that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for a select group—it’s a day we can be inclusive and appreciative of all kinds of love. By having activities that didn’t center exclusively on romance or love, but instead focused broadly on friendship and community, the CSGD enabled students to simply enjoy themselves and the company around them, cultivating a greater sense of belonging.

“I very much reflected on the relationships in my life,” said one student. “It helped me reflect on allonormativity,” said another.

Students who weren’t making flowers or watching Adventure Time could be found chatting, playing board games, or getting their competitive juices flowing with Super Smash Bros. Everyone was dedicated to connecting with others and with their own unique identity. As the event wrapped up, one attendee observed that “the themed food was a fun idea and the multitude of activities from watching Adventure Time to flower-making made it a conducive atmosphere to do what you like, whether that is to relax or socialize.”

Expanding Our Definition of Love

February 14th may be the one day we focus on love as a nation, but the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity works to cultivate affection, compassion, and connection everyday by holding space for queer, trans, and allied students and other identities to gather and discuss their own experiences and understandings of love. The CSGD at Duke is dedicated to creating a welcoming and fun environment for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and advocating for a more inclusive future. To stay updated on future initiatives and programs hosted by the CSGD, keep an eye on their Instagram account, the website or Duke Groups.

kickback friday event at CSGD