This article was published on October 7th, 2020
Twenty-nine percent of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, been kicked out of home, or run away. More than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide.
These are sobering numbers; all the more reason to take a strong stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth this Spirit Day.
What is Spirit Day?
Spirit Day is a day to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth. Individuals, companies, brands, celebrities, and others “go purple” on the day to show their solidarity with LGBTQ youth. As such, it has become one of the most visible campaigns against LGBTQ bullying in the world.
Founded in 2010 by Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day has taken on a spirit of its own, inspiring millions worldwide. Brittany was alarmed about LGBTQ teen suicides, so she decided to do something about it. Using Canada’s Pink Shirt Day as inspiration, she urged people to wear purple, the spirit color on the LGBTQ Rainbow Flag. Her efforts caught GLAAD’s attention, and they have since worked to amplify her work.
“Ultimately, I want Spirit Day to make just one person feel a little bit better about his or herself, to feel safe enough in their skin to be proud of who they are.”
– Brittany McMillan
Spirit Day happens annually on the third Thursday in October and coincides with both the National Bullying Prevention Month and the LGBT History Month. Consequently, LGBTQ can see all the support around them and know that it gets better. This year, Spirit Day falls on October 15.
Why is it important?
LGBTQ youth face disproportionately more bullying and harassment because of their sexual orientation or identities. This can have serious and detrimental effects on their health and well-being.
Remember those sobering numbers at the start? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- More than 70% of LGBTQ students report being verbally abused according to a GLSEN survey.
- Seventy-one percent have heard homophobic remarks from teachers and staff from the same survey because of their identity and gender expression.
- Over 45 percent have experienced cyberbullying, while over 80 percent say that recent politics have impacted their well being.
Even more striking, More than 50% of LGBTQ youth did not report bullying and harassment experiences because they didn’t think anyone would take action.
These LGBTQ youths and more who go through unimaginable and untold pain, discrimination, and marginalization are the reason why Spirit Day is so important.
No one, and it’s worth repeating, NO ONE, should have to go through life afraid because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. No one should ever have to miss school or consider suicide because of constant harassment for being gay or transgender.
Spirit Day allows us to take a stand in ensuring that every LGBTQ teen and youth can live fully and freely. It’s our chance to show them that it gets better and that they have people standing with them.
How to celebrate Spirit Day 2020
Join millions of others across the world in “going purple” on Spirit Day, October 15, in solidarity with LGBTQ youth against bullying. You can go purple anyway you wish, from wearing purple on the day to changing your social media profiles. In fact, why not get creative? A purple cake (share the pics…the recipe too), purple lights, anyone?
Going purple on the day is one of the strongest and most visible statements against bullying. And to show your support for LGBTQ youth.
Take the pledge against bullying
Bullying is a serious problem across the world. The internet, and especially social media, has only amplified it. In fact, First Lady Melania Trump has made anti-cyberbullying one of her major initiatives, noting that she has been one of the most bullied persons in the world.
Chances are, you have been bullied or know someone who has. You also know the detrimental effects it has on your mental well-being. This Spirit Day, stand up against bullying, in all its forms.
You can take the pledge here.
Donate to organizations that support LGBTQ youth
LGBTQ youth organizations help teens and other youths cope with their sexual orientation and identities. They provide crucial resources to understand human sexuality and offer youth support through bullying and other issues.
This Spirit Day, donate, or volunteer at one of these organizations. Your donation will go a long way in empowering the teens and ensuring that all LGBTQ youth live freely and fully.
Share your LGBTQ story
Every LGBTQ person has a story. For example, at what age did you know you liked the same sex? How did that affect you? Have people ever treated you differently because of your orientation or gender identity? You can share your stories with friends or post on social media.
Perhaps sharing our stories, around bullying especially, might give LGBTQ youth hope that they too can take a stand. They can stand proud of their sexual identities.
It’s evident that we need new leadership at the top. The current administration has persistently threatened the rights of LGBTQ people and especially transgender persons.
The constitution states it plainly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Get out and vote. Vote early and encourage others to vote. That is the only way to guarantee better leadership that respects the rights of all people.
You know what? You now have the perfect place to rock that purple outfit. Strike two proverbial birds with one stone!
Spread the word
Post on your social media (with some purple ideally). You can also share this article. Let people know what’s happening to LGBTQ youth, and what can be done.