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Celebrate Valentine's Day With These 12 Photos of Raw, Real Love

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It’s become a bit of a tradition here at BUST to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Adipositivity Project’s annual Valentine Series. Each year, the project’s creator, Substantia Jones, puts together a refreshing collection of photos that resist the homogenous, hetero-normative images of love we are used to seeing every February 14th.

Jones understands widespread frustration with the holiday’s tendency to sell love as a product, but as an absolute lover of love, she can’t resist joining the party: “I personally find romantic love dizzyingly pleasurable, and completely deserving of being celebrated once a year. At least.”

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Albeit, her celebration is a subversive one. Jones is dedicated to featuring diverse relationships in her photos, as her objective is to show that everyone loves and deserves love—no matter size, sexuality, or color. As always, this year’s series represents participants of color, the disabled, and the LGBT community.

Says one subject of his experience (see the first image below): 

Hi, I'm the guy on the right in this picture. Some of you might notice there's not really anything dangling between my legs. The simple explanation to this is that I'm trans — I was designated female at birth, but my gender has always been male. When I was old enough to do something about it, I did. This included taking testosterone, aka "T." T is powerful — it changes your voice, your hairline and jawline, increases your body hair, and even redistributes body fat. What it doesn't do is help you grow a full-size penis. I've found, to me at least, that's really just not relevant to my everyday life. What is relevant is how at home I feel in my body now, how much easier it is to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see, how I've learned to accept and even love my body now in a way I never could before. My manhood isn't defined by what's between my legs, but how I live my life.

A big thanks to Jones for reminding us there’s nothing more beautiful than love — love of self, love of each other, and love of those around us exactly as they are. 

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Street art by Kashink

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Marissa Dubecky is a reader of books, writer of words, eater of doughnuts. Based in NYC. Instagram: @marissa_aletamarissadubecky.com

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Marissa is an NYC-based writer who loves feminism, doughnuts, and being outside. She's not a huge fan of writing personal bios, but she does love writing pretty much anything else. Read more of her work at marissadubecky.com and follow her on Instagram at @marissa_aleta

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