The Power of Youth

This Thursday, millions of people will go purple in support of gay and transgender youth for Spirit Day. A shining example of the power of youth voices, teenager Brittany McMillan asked people to showcase purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag, so that young people everywhere can see that safe schools and gay and transgender youth are important and need community-wide support. Spirit Day has become a day of action supported by students, young people, celebrities, allies, and organizations who will create a vision of purple to show their support.

This weekend, in another demonstration of the power of youth, hundreds of young people gathered in Los Angeles for the 19th annual Models of Pride Conference – a free conference focusing on lesbian, gay, bi, transgender and questioning youth and their allies. GLAAD joined the impressive number of presenters to work with youth on amplifying their voices. Presenting workshops in both Spanish and English, the Media Field Strategy Team worked with youth to build their skills in sharing their stories as a way to change hearts and minds for full equality.

With a focus on Spirit Day and the importance of safe schools for all students, participants shared personal anecdotes about anti-LGBT bulling and why it is so important for young people everywhere to take a stand in purple to show their solidarity.

The issues facing young people can be complex and varied. Models of Pride allowed youth to come together and examine LGBT issues as a way to build youth capacity and be more informed about advocacy, health, safety, homelessness, and building effective Gay Straight Alliances, among other topics. As an annual event, it is an incredible opportunity to showcase the power of youth to create change.

For those of you who were unable to attend Models of Pride, there are still ways to amplify your voice and speak out for equality. If you’re interested in speaking out for safe schools, consider sharing YOUR story, and please participate in Spirit Day to show your support for gay and transgender youth everywhere.