Written by Connie Larkman
Take a stand against bullying and show your support for young people across America on Friday! Join the millions of people around the country wearing purple on Spirit Day, Oct. 19.
Spirit Day is a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. It's a day to take a stand, and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by a high school girl as a response to the young LGBT people who had taken their own lives.
Brittany McMillan says she founded Spirit Day as a message all of us can send to LGBT teenagers who feel marginalized. "Show your support for the LGBT community and take a stand against bullying," she says. "Everyone, regardless of their race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity, is important to someone."
"We've got to be vigilant in making our communities, schools and churches safe for everyone, especially our young people," says the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, the UCC's executive for LGBT concerns. "It is important to share the message with LGBTQ youth that it gets better, but it is even more important to make it better and that is what Spirit Day is all about. Across the United Church of Christ there are thousands of churches, pastors, members and friends who are committed to not only showing their purple as a symbol of solidarity and support, but to putting God's extravagant welcome and radically inclusive love into action."
Observed annually, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. Getting involved is easy –– participants are asked to simply "go purple" on Oct. 19 as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. GLADD encourages sharing this message with your friends and family, too.
Brittany McMillan says she believes each one of us can make a difference. "There are quiet struggles happening all around you," she says. "But please reach out, because no one should feel like they don't belong or don't matter, especially not because of who they are."