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America went purple for Spirit Day. Why that matters...

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From Times Square, to LAX and all the way to the White house – millions of Americans celebrated Spirit Day on October 20 by 'going purple' to stand up against bullying and send a message to LGBT youth that it's okay to be who you are.

Can you imagine what it must feel like to be a young LGBT person growing up in a small town – having no idea that your teacher, your peers, your favorite celebrity, or even your own parents support you – and then seeing them wear purple in support of equality? It's seems so simple, but the effects such support can have on a young person are limitless.

Spirit Day 2011 was not just a success, but a national phenomenon. Hosts of The View, Good Morning America, Ellen, and Conan; the NBA; Seventeen magazine and Ricky Martin were just a few of the supporters GLAAD worked with to help share messages or support and encouragement with millions.

Check out these photos to see how #SpiritDay was celebrated around the country.

Spirit Day started as an idea by teenager Brittany McMillan that GLAAD helped amplify through online activation and leveraging relationships with media and entertainment. Today I ask you to support GLAAD's digital intiatives, the driving force behind Spirit Day, to help us continue to share messages of acceptance through the media that will help us achieve full equality for LGBT people. With your gift of $10 or $25 or whatever you can contribute, GLAAD can make sure the message of Spirit Day is carried on throughout the year in classrooms, living rooms and around the water cooler.

We have a long way to go, but together we can continue to create a world in which everyone is accepted, respected and valued for who they are.

P.S. I hope you will share your own purple photos, videos and stories with us.

Mike Thompson is GLAAD's Acting President

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