Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spirit Day: Stand up to bullying of LGBT youth

LGBT youths driven to suicide appear as Jesus is laid in the tomb in Station 14 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button

People are speaking out against bullying of LGBT and queer youth today for Spirit Day (Oct. 17, 2013).

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.

The Jesus in Love Blog marks Spirit Day this year by posting Station 14 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button, courtesy of Believe Out Loud. The painting matches Jesus being laid in his tomb with images of LGBT youths who took their own lives. Recognizable faces include Tyler Clementi, Jamey Rodemeyer, Raymond Chase, and Seth Walsh. They represent countless other young LGBT people who committed suicide because they couldn't bear life in a world that despises and discriminates against queer people.

Many people make a statement supporting LGBT young people on Spirit Day by wearing 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.

Spirit Day is promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Visit Spirit Day 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:

Trevor Project national help line for LGBTQ teens
Visit or call 866 4U TREVOR

Day of Silence: Stop bullying God’s LGBTQ youth (Jesus in Love)

Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America” by Mitchell Gold and Mindy Drucker

Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens” by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke

Wear purple for Spirit Day to support LGBT youth (Jesus in Love - 2011)

This post is part of the LGBTQ Calendar series by Kittredge Cherry. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, events in LGBTQ history, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of faith and our allies.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved. presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

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