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Here’s how millions around the world are celebrating Spirit Day today

Here’s how millions around the world are celebrating Spirit Day today

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.

Related: Here’s your complete list of LGBTQ holidays & commemorations just in time for ‘Spirit Day’

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.”

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.”

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 AmericaAM2DM, 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:

 

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