More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Spirit Day Ambassador Katy Butler Calls on Presidential Candidates to "Go Purple" on Oct. 19
Katy, a Michigan native who organized more than half a million people to call on the MPAA to change the rating of BULLY from ‘R’ to ‘PG-13’, recounted her experiences in school being bullied for being a lesbian, saying:
Once, when I was in 7th grade, a few guys came up behind me while I was putting my books in my locker. They called me names and asked me why I even bothered to show my face at school because no one wanted to go to school with a lesbian. I tried to ignore them because I was afraid of what else they might say - and who else they might tell - if I stood up to them. When I went to leave, they pushed me against the wall. Then they slammed my locker shut on my hand, breaking my finger. I held back tears while I watched them run away laughing. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know whom I could talk to about being gay.
Spirit Day is an annual day in October when Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Last year, millions of people wore purple, changed their Facebook and Twitter profile photos purple, and helped spread the word in a united stand against bullying.
This year, hundreds of celebrities, TV shows, companies, schools and local communities will be participating. Among them: the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, the NBA, Facebook, Shay Mitchell, Shaquille O'Neal, the cast of Days of Our Lives, Wendy Williams and many, many more. Click here to see who else is going purple on 10/19!
This year, Katy is asking the presidential candidates, to join her and the millions of other Americans planning to wear purple on October 19:
If both of these influential men participate by simply wearing purple it will show LGBT teens like me that there are powerful people who care about us. I know what it’s like to feel alone, and seeing two of our country's political leaders show that they care about our lives could make a huge difference to LGBT students, who are 3-5 times more likely to experience depression and attempt suicide than their counter parts. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could take a big step towards ending that feeling of isolation.
Also, be sure you're ready to “go purple”. Simply take the pledge to "go purple" on October 19th as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. You can also download our Spirit Day resource kit, which has ways you can turn your community purple. Spirit Day participants can also spread the word and tell their friends that they're standing up against bullying.
Watch Katy Butler accept a Special Recognition Award at the GLAAD Media Awards:
Support LGBT youth and stand against bullying! When you text PURPLE to 80888, you are supporting the important work GLAAD, GLSEN and The Trevor Project do every day!