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 Founder Brittany McMillan Tells Personal Story in Advocate
The Advocate on Monday published a commentary from Spirit Day founder Brittany McMillan, in which the teenager discusses the importance of the upcoming event, and how her personal struggle with depression drove her to create it.
For me, depression was a result of imbalanced chemicals in my brain, something neither I nor anyone around me could control. But for some of these teens, their depression was oftentimes made worse by another person, a person who had full control over the situation, who could choose whether or not to bully.
Brittany says not only did she did not anticipate how huge Spirit Day would become, she didn't even know how her friends and lassmates would react.
I figured they would just brush it off; after all, homophobic slurs weren’t exactly uncommon in my high school. But to my surprise, people actually took notice and decided to make a change. I have been correcting people who use “gay” and “stupid” as synonymous terms for most of my life. But I don’t feel like I ever got through to them until Spirit Day. Suddenly, all these people who nodded their heads and said they understood actually understood. They understood the effects that slurs can have, even if they didn’t “mean it like that.”