On the third Thursday in October, you’ll be seeing people wearing purple for Spirit Day. Why?
After a string of suicides among gay teens in 2010, Canadian high schooler Brittany McMillan called on fellow students to wear purple to raise awareness about the epidemic nature of bullying, especially when it comes to LGBTQ youth. GLAAD lent some of its media muscle to help amplify the campaign, asking TV personalities to wear purple on air. Not only did the White House participate, but so did our nation’s spiritual leader: Oprah.
Spirit Day is meant to help people take a stand against LGBTQ bullying and show solidarity with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day is a way for everyone to visibly support LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.
Why is it important to take a visible stand against the bullying LGBT youth. Look at the numbers: 85 percent of LGBTQ students report being verbally harassed, and 64% of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from teachers and/or school staff because of their gender expression. Nearly 58 percent of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; the same percentage also say they have not reported experiences of bullying because they doubted an intervention. Why would they think that? Perhaps 64 percent of LGBTQ students who did report an incident said that school staff did nothing in response or told the student to ignore it. Also,increasingly of concern in this wireless age, 49 percent of LGBTQ students have experienced cyberbullying.
Are you reading this too late to wear a pop of purple? You can still show your support by taking the #spiritday pledge at glaad.org/spiritday, and share the message with GLAAD’s purple-tinted social media, too.
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Last modified: October 21, 2019