Today is the 10th annual Spirit Day organized by GLAAD.
In 2010, high schooler Brittany McMillan was so affected by the rising number of LGBTQ youth committing suicide that she asked her friends to wear purple. That has turned into a daylong celebration for LGBTQ youth and their supporters making their presence known, in schools and elsewhere around the world.
#SpiritDay is October 17th and millions will stand up against bullying and show their support for LGBTQ youth by going purple. Take the pledge to show your support: https://t.co/AJXrimYJKz 💜💜💜 pic.twitter.com/McbFO2vlTl
— GLAAD (@glaad) October 10, 2019
McMillan, who is now a middle school teacher, said in 2016, “It’s the participants that make Spirit Day what it is; they create their own events and their own art, all in the name of showing LGBTQ young people that they care.”
— Brittany McMillan (@ba_mcmillan) October 17, 2019
According to GLAAD, purple symbolizes “spirit” on the rainbow flag. GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement that “with LGBTQ rights under attack on a near-daily basis, Spirit Day could not be happening at a more critical time.”
Today is #SpiritDay, the purple day of standing up against violence & bullying of the LGBTQ+ community 💜. Countries must have Equality Acts to protect the LGBTQ+ community against discrimination. Schools must educate people about LGBTQ+ history and be safe spaces for queer youth
— Luke Waltham (@lukewaltham) October 17, 2019
So far this year, more purple is being showcased around the world and in media more than ever. Users of China’s biggest social media services, such as WeChat, Weibo, and QQ, have turned their sites purple in recognition of Spirit Day, although they fear censors will prevent them from explicitly mentioning sexuality or gender identity. Good Morning America, AM2DM, and CBS This Morning already turned the airwaves purple today, and companies such as Target, Comcast, Kellogg’s, and Turner Television have gone all out to make their celebration of Spirit Day known with ads and PSAs.
Several 2020 Democratic candidates, including Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) shared their words of encouragement and appreciation for LGBTQ youth, all viewable on GLAAD’s YouTube. The United Nations Human Rights Council also shared a video promoting the need to combat inequality and oppression around the world for Spirit Day.
GLAAD’s communication coordinator Spencer Harvey wrote about how necessary safe spaces and anti-bullying effort are in an op-ed published today in MTV News. He specifically highlighted the lives of two LGBTQ youth lost this year in Nigel Shelby and Channing Smith, along with the policies of the Trump administration as evidence that Spirit Day is more necessary then ever.
GLSEN recently reports that 70% of surveyed LGBTQ youth have received verbal harassment in school, and 71% have experienced or witnessed homophobia from school staff.
Spirit Day occurs every third Saturday in October. This month also serves as LGBTQ History Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. You can see Spirit Day posts from all around the world on social media sites with the hashtag #SpiritDay. You can also add your name to GLAAD’s list of those pledging against homophobia and bullying.
See how several organizations and celebrities have recognized Spirit Day below:
Rocking our rainbows 🌈 and purple for spirit day! Let’s make the pledge to stop bullying against LGBTQ+ 🏳️🌈@wbz @DanielleWBZ4 @BrePWBZ @KateMerrill #cbspride #spiritday #lgbt #lgbtq #glaad #wbz pic.twitter.com/BH6WxG7DAU
— Chris McKinnon (@chrisWBZ) October 17, 2019
— 🎃 The Late Late Show with James Gore-den 👻 (@latelateshow) October 17, 2019
*No one* deserves to be bullied for who they are and how they love, and today we’re holding it down for queer and trans youth. You are valid and we love you! pic.twitter.com/wSzA0OW1gn
— Alex Berg (@itsalexberg) October 17, 2019
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 17, 2019
View this post on Instagram
Today is #SpiritDay presented by @glaad . Take a stand against LGBTQ bullying and join the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world. Pledge to “go purple”, show support for LGBTQ youth, and share your commitment using #SpiritDay and #prideNBCU. #NBCUDiversity @outnbcuniversal
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 17, 2019
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 17, 2019
I don't wear much purple, but I do have a purple ribbon to wear because as a gay candidate for #WIStateAssembly I proudly support #SpiritDay. LGBTQ bullying is still a problem and the transgender community doesn't have statewide protections in Wisconsin. 💜🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/4qUQLdxVcu
— Rev. Dr. Nick De Leon (@RevDrDeLeon) October 17, 2019