Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wear purple for Spirit Day to support LGBT youth

Wear purple today to show support for LGBT youth on Spirit Day (Oct. 20).

Millions of people are wearing purple today to speak out against bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by Brittany McMillan, a 16-year-old Canadian girl, in response to high-profile suicides by young LGBT people such as Tyler Clementi.

On Spirit Day individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. They also “go purple” by making their profile pictures purple at Facebook and other social media websites. More than 1.6 million Facebook users from around the world signed up for Spirit Day last year.

Spirit Day is being promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Visit for more info, including an interview with McMillan about why she founded Spirit Day.

“The purpose of the event was so that people who were being bullied at their schools could come to school on Spirit Day and look around at all the people wearing purple, all the people who they could trust, all the people who would support them….I honestly had a bit of a pessimistic view of it. I thought that I would only get a few hundred people wearing purple and then my school. I never thought it would get as big as it did,” she said.

McMillan noted that Spirit Day is also a day to mourn the youths already lost. “A lot of events are always doing things for the present or the future, but they don’t really look back on the past. Spirit Day is a day where you can presently support LGBTQ teens, promise to stand up to homophobic bullying and also remember teens from the past,” she said.

Related links

Tyler Clementi: Gay martyr driven to suicide by bullies (Jesus in Love Blog)

Rutgers University student Tyler Clement sparked efforts to support LGBT youth after he jumped to his death on Sept. 22, 2010. He was driven to suicide by cyber bullying and harassment. Artist Louisa Bertman shows how anti-LGBT politicians created the hostile environment that drove Tyler Clementi to suicide in her drawing “Tyler Clementi, Jump!”

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