This Thursday, October 20, marks the second annual Spirit Day, which was started last year to show support and solidarity with LGBT youth, especially those who have been bullied because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Support for Spirit Day has come from many places, including religious people and communities and those who understand their faith to require them to love and accept all people.
Last week, Lisa Finkelstein, who runs A Professional Queer Jew’s Blog, asked her followers to join her in going purple for Spirit Day. In her post, she says:
Together, we can show LGBT teens that they are supported. By pledging to wear purple on October 20, LGBT teens can find you, remember who you are and if they ever need someone to trust in coming out they know you can be a safe advocate and friend to connect with.
Finkelstein also links to the website of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, which is urging people to go purple on October 20.
Sin Apología, a Spanish-language blog dedicated to changing the dialogue around religion and LGBT people, posted a guest blog about Spirit Day, written by Manny Santiago, MDiv. Santiago urges readers to support Spirit Day in order to recognize the pain many young LGBT people have endured because of bullying. He also notes that:
For those of us who do theology from the margins, especially those who do Queer theology, the actions of [Brittany McMillan, the founder of Spirit Day] are but a way of embodying the Spirit of God. This coming Spirit Day is a reminder that the Holy Mystery – that Divinity who was made flesh and walks with us – continues taking flesh among the people, especially those who have been oppressed and rejected. Those of us in the Hispanic/Latino Queer communities should hear the calling of the Spirit through Brittany and wear purple this coming October 20th…
Santiago notes that participating in Spirit Day can be seen as a sacred observance intended to protect and preserve human life, which is always valuable.
Other congregations are recognizing Spirit Day in their own ways. The youth of King Street United Church of Christ, in Danbury, Conn. have launched "In Our Shoes." The shoes, donated by people who have experienced bullying, will share a reminder that bullying impacts real people. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, in Rockford, Ill., observed Spirit Day on Sunday Oct. 16 and encouraged the congregation to wear purple. The results were enthusiastic and overwhelming as the entire congregation showed up wearing purple.
There is still time to participate in Spirit Day! Congregations, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to wear purple and discuss Spirit Day and themes of love, acceptance, and welcome during services held this coming weekend, October 22-23. For more ideas and suggestions, please contact GLAAD’s Religion, Faith, and Values program or use the suggestions posted on our Spirit Day page. Please also contact GLAAD if you would like your congregation or faith organization to become one of our Faith Partners for Spirit Day.