Wednesday is #SpiritDay - How You Can Go Purple

GLAAD is proud to support Spirit Day, a day to honor those young people we've lost to anti-gay bullying and bullying-related suicide and a day to rally behind the countless young people who are struggling with these issues every day.  Check out GLAAD's Spirit Day page at www.glaad.org/spiritday.

Last week, GLAAD's constituents contacted us about a Facebook event page created to honor teens who recently took their lives in response to anti-gay bullying.  The event page, named "R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple", calls for supporters to wear purple on October 20, 2010.  As the page quickly grew in popularity, it was flooded with messages of support for the teens and condemnation of anti-gay bullying.  Unfortunately, the page also became a forum for anti-LGBT hateful speech, images and violent messages.

GLAAD reached out to Facebook on October 6 immediately after we were alerted to the violent images and hateful comments posted to the event page.  Facebook responded that they would begin to monitor the page closely for violations of their terms of service.  At that point, almost 100,000 Facebook users responded that they will “attend” this event.  Two weeks later, the event has over a million RSVPs.  As the number of attendees on the event page grew, so did the number of incident reports sent to GLAAD regarding the hateful speech and images posted to the page.  Check out this CNN video describing GLAAD's work with Facebook.

Now we are asking all of our supporters to participate in this important event.

The idea behind Spirit Day is a simple one, not dissimilar to the idea of "Spirit Week" held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.

The idea to wear purple on October 20 was first floated by teenager Brittany McMillan in early October as a way to honor the memories of the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it's also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT teens who face the same pressures and who are victims of the same types of bullying and harassment that there is a vast community of people out here who love them and care about them. Purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

As one of the event's Facebook page says: "This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple."

Wearing purple on October 20 is a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and a simple way to stand UP to the bullies. Remember those lives we've tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those who are still fighting. Everyone Rally Together.

You can bookmark www.glaad.org/spiritday for a list of ways to participate. Here's what you can do to take part:

  1. Please RSVP to these events on Facebook: "R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple" and Spirit Day, A GLOBAL Day of remembering.
  2. Wear purple on October 20!
  3. Twitter pic: Click here to turn your Twitter profile pic purple now through October 20
  4. Facebook pic: Click here to create a purple version of your Facebook profile pic - Then look for the purple photo in a new photo album called "Twibbons," click on the purple photo, and click "Make Profile Pic." Works best on square profile pics.
  5. On Wednesday, post this tweet: I'm wearing purple to end anti-LGBT bullying - make your profile pic purple today #SpiritDay http://glaad.org/spiritday
  6. On Wednesday, post this Facebook status: I'm wearing purple today to support LGBT youth - make your profile pic purple today for Spirit Day at http://glaad.org/spiritday

On Twitter? Use the hashtag #SpiritDay in your tweets - let's make #SpiritDay a trending topic!

Together, we can show a nation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people that they are not alone, and remember the lives that have been tragically lost.

LGBT youth in need of immediate help should contact The Trevor Project 's 24/7 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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