The LGBTQ Center at the University of Virginia is handing out free “Love is…” T-shirts to celebrate all forms of love this Valentine’s Day.
Continuing a 10-year tradition, UVA students, faculty, and staff will wear their shirts on Feb. 14 and gather for a group photo at 4 p.m. on the Rotunda steps facing the Lawn to sing UVA’s alma mater, “The Good Old Song.”
Organizers say the LGBTQ Center’s “Love is” T-shirt campaign celebrates the diverse forms in which love manifests, be it queer, platonic, romantic, familial, communal, self-extended, and more. LGBTQ Center staff members began the “Love is Love” T-shirt campaign in 2009 to promote dialogue in support of LGBTQ+ people at UVA.
“Since then, the University’s culture has become increasingly accepting of queer identities, but not all minority voices are heard equally,” said second-year student Blair Smith, who is organizing the event. “There remains a need for conversations about the intersections of culture and queerness, the validity of trans and gender-expansive folk, and the obligations that come with privilege, to name a few examples.”
In the spirit of community involvement, the phrase that appears on this year’s T-shirt ends with a blank line that participants are encouraged to fill with their thoughts about what love is.
“We hope that this kind of thinking will spark complex conversations about how to make the world a place where all people know that they are loved and can love freely,” said Smith.