Many teenagers feel pressured to have some sort of romantic relationship around Valentine’s Day. We see posts on social media like “My boyfriend got me this!” “My partner got me that!” and many, including myself, will retweet or comment “goals” on those posts without thinking.  GLSEN’s National Student Council partnered with Hollister to show different types of relationships to deconstruct what love and relationships look like around the holiday using #carpeloveHCO.  Student Council members shared pictures with their dogs, best friends, family, and significant others tto show that there is not just one way to show love and it can manifest in many different forms.. There is not just one way to show love. One council member took a picture with their gecko! Check out the National Student Council’s pictures below with their loved ones or scroll through GLSEN's Instagram. Carpe amor. Seize love every day! -Sayer (National Student Council)


A picture of National Student Council Member Sayer and her friend petting a dog.

There’s a quote, I’m not sure who said it, but it’s, “Distance means so little when someone means so much.” I can’t tell you enough how true that is not only in relation to distance but time as well. I went 913 days, almost 2 and a half years, without seeing @chocogosto, in that time, there were months on end when Carly and I didn’t speak, but each time we reconnected, nothing had changed. The last time I saw her, we left camp with promises of talking, staying connected and meeting up through the year. Promises of staying in each other’s lives, being there for each other, making sure the other is okay. We have more or less kept those promises, more so recently, but there was one that we struggled to keep. It took us 913 days to meet up, we are separated by 3 hours and it took us almost 2 and a half years for us to see each other again. That’s what these pictures are, these pictures show the reunion of two best friends who act like lovers but I can promise you, there’s nothing going on there. These pictures show the reunion of two best friends who need each other. Everyone should have someone in their life with whom they can talk about anything, everything, or nothing at all. I’ve found that. I love you Carl. #carpelovehco 


GLSEN's National Student Council member Sarah holding hands with their partner KP

I met KP 4 years ago when I transferred to their school. We didn’t interact often until a year later when they encouraged me to join our school’s GSA. As a closeted 9th grader, I was reluctant, but KP convinced me to come to one meeting at the end of the year. I finally joined in 10th grade, even though I was still learning to accept my queer identity. This ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, as my GSA helped me survive an incredibly rough year. I finished 10th grade doing three things I never imagined myself doing: becoming my GSA's co-head, coming out to my parents, and joining GLSEN’s National Student Council. KP was the first person I came out to after all of this happened, and they were one of the few people in my life who immediately accepted me. This led us to bond with each other and become closer, and eventually start dating. I’m incredibly grateful for the support KP has provided me all these years, and I’m so lucky to have them by my side.


GLSEN National Student Council Member Marcus and their girlfriend laughing

I have been dealing with various mental health issues for a while. Shocking, I know. A queer AP student? Mental illness? It was basically a match made in heaven. Yet everyday I still have something to look forward to: Spending time with my girlfriend and friends. They have pulled me through so many hard times, and I can't explain how important they are to me. My girlfriend really is my other half, and my friends feel more like soulmates than people I simply like to talk to. They are love to me. #carpelovehco 


Picture of GLSEN National Student Council member Danny with a friend in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

Emily and I met three years ago at sleepaway camp. From the moment we met I knew we would be inseparable. Every summer we would reunite at camp and would spend the summer hiking, zip lining, or just laughing and smiling around the fire. Now that she has gone off to college, I count the days to when she returns home so we can reunite. We always pick up from where we left off, giggling, and embracing. She has always been there for me, on days when I felt alone, or on memorable life events. In the future, I know that no matter where we both go in life, she will always just be one phone call or text away. #CarpeLoveHCo 


Picture of National Student Council member James with his brother

When I came out as transgender, I thought my relationship with my little brother would change. I was afraid that because I was different, he would be uncomfortable with me. Instead he embraced me for who I am, and we have become even closer since. Just like we always have, we spend time together laughing and joking on our porch and in the backyard. We #CarpeLoveHCo by celebrating our differences and building on our similarities.


A photograph of Student Advocate of the Year Ose laughing with two of their friends in the snow

When considering the idea of love, I immediate think of two people: my best friend and my partner. They've both, in different ways, expanded my definitions of love, trust, and companionship. For me, this past year has been a series of ups and downs that have changed the way I see and navigate the world and I wouldn't have wanted to experience this era of my life with any two other people. Moving past high school, these two people are the ones I want in my life for the long haul to keep me honest, happy, and bright.


A picture of National Student Council Member Soli and friend holding hands in front of a tree

I show my #Carpe love by spending time with those who are there for me in the best and worst of time. My friends who are there to support me at school and my dog who loves me at home. 


A photo of GLSEN National Student Council member Imani and a friend laughing

Warm company, cold weather. it’s very important to spend time with the people you love, even if it’s just having a chat and looking at memes! which is why i’m carpe-ing my diem by looking at dog pictures with my best friend (because how else should you spend your time)?? 


A photo of GLSEN National Student Council member Mari and their dog

So a gay chicanx and a pit bull? stereotypical right? maybe so, i mean we’re two broad-shouldered, stern, aggressive and intimidating looking individuals that were only ever given a bad wrap were really just two individuals that were labeled who had needed a pal and were misunderstood. on july twenty-eighth, two-thousand sixteen, a three-year-old rescue pit bull with separation anxiety, raised and trained as a fighting dog, you couldn’t ever tell by the smile. 

i didn't just adopt “that rescue pit bull”, i adopted my buddy/pal, caesar. the details from all different kinds of relationships are what make the bond. you may never know love though until you stand outside with twenty-degree weather in boxers and a t-shirt, just to see and make sure someone is okay after they run into the steps, then the wall, then the door, you get the point right? #CarpeLoveHCo


A photo of National Student Council member Marisa with her gecko on her head

I found my home not in the sense of a house, but in those who I love #Carpelovehco

Love and relationships develop in so many different ways past the confines of what society tells us that they should be. We hope that you’re able to show the ways that you display your love and build relationships with those that support you to be your full authentic self.

Sayer, Sarah, Marcus, Danny, James, Ose, Soli, Imani, Mari, and Marisa are members of GLSEN's National Student Council.