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#SpiritDay reaches more than 150 million with message of support for LGBT youth

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Spirit Day participants are wearing purple or going purple online today in a stand against bullying and show of support for LGBT young people. Spirit Day began in 2010 to commemorate young LGBT lives lost to suicide. Each year, GLAAD organizes hundreds of celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, faith groups, school districts, colleges and universities to speak out for LGBT youth on Spirit Day. Highlights from the fourth annual Spirit Day include:

  • The White House joins Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Eric McCormack & Debra Messing, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Betty White, Nick Cannon, Demi Lovato, Ricky Martin, Ke$ha, Kim Kardashian, Melissa Etheridge, Honey Boo Boo, Raven Symone; sports leagues including Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, and NHL
  • Hosts of Good Morning America, TODAY, The View, CNBC, The Talk, BET, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Wendy Williams; brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, and Delta Air Lines to participate
  • MTV, OWN, VH1, Logo, Sundance, TV Land to turn on-air logos purple as landmarks including Times Square, the New York Stock Exchange, LAX, JFK Airport, and the Las Vegas strip light up in purple in a show of support for LGBT youth

For more information on Spirit Day and to go purple or participate on social media visit http://glaad.org/spiritday and follow #SpiritDay. A #SpiritDay app is also available powered by Toyota Financial Services. Spirit Day participants reached over 150 million users on social media. Participants also used a GLAAD #SpiritDay app sponsored by Toyota Financial Services.

The White House tweeted using #SpiritDay and directed followers to stopbullying.gov. Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, also spoke out in support of LGBT youth on their official Twitters.

Oprah Winfrey tweeted support for #SpiritDay to more than 21.5 million followers and turned her Twitter profile picture purple. The Ellen DeGeneres Show changed Facebook and Twitter profiles to purple.

Eric McCormack and Debra Messing wore Spirit Day ribbons during a reunion celebrating the 15th anniversary of Will & Grace on TODAY. Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear also sported a purple ribbon while hosts of TODAY wore purple ties and outfits.

Ashton Kutcher tweeted a photo of himself and the cast of Two and a Half Men in purple hats. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, MTV talent including Ke$ha, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi and Jenni ‘JWOWW’ Farley, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph from ‘Catfish: The TV Show’; the cast of TeenNick's 'Degrassi'; celebrity radio host Elvis Duran; 12 year-old transgender advocate Jazz and 11 year-old gay advocate Marcel Neergaard; Archie Comics' Kevin Keller; model AzMarie Livingston; Extra Host Maria Menounos; country music artist Kacey Musgraves, and Spanish-language talk show host Cristina Saralegui have served as Spirit Day Ambassadors and helped secure widespread participation.

News anchors and hosts from Access Hollywood, BET's 106th & Park, VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live, Chelsea Lately, CNBC, CNN, the Conan O'Brien Show, E! News, Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, Extra, Good Morning America, the Gossip Table, Jimmy Kimmel Live, MSNBC, NBC-owned stations, omg! Insider, Telemundo, The Talk, TODAY, The View, Watch What Happens Live, the Wendy Williams Show, and more will be wearing purple on-air for Spirit Day. Days of our Lives has turned social media icons purple.

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Sundance turned on-air as well as social media logos purple. Viacom brands MTV, VH1, TV Land, mtvU and Logo turned on-air logos purple in recognition of Spirit Day. Other participating media companies include CBS, Comcast and NBCUniversal, Disney-ABC Television Group, Lifetime and TLC.

Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Basketball Association (NBA) & Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are sharing Spirit Day information on social media including official Facebook and twitter accounts. This is the second year that each has participated.

All 30 Major League Baseball teams shared a #SpiritDay message and changed Facebook photos to purple. During Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Tigers at Comerica Park (8 p.m. ET, FOX), a sellout crowd will be prompted on the scoreboard and over a public-address announcement to learn more about the day's meaning and how to be involved.

The NFL and Major League Baseball will both be speaking about Spirit Day tonight in their respective games.

Transgender athlete Kye Allums, openly gay basketball players Jason Collins and Brittney Griner, and out WWE Superstar Darren Young have also served as Spirit Day Ambassadors.

Participating national landmarks lighting up in purple include Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience, the LAX pylon lights, the National Cathedral, the New York Stock Exchange, and Times Square, including billboards at American Eagle Outfitters, MTV, NASDAQ, and the Thomson Reuters building. Out country music star Steve Grand will play a free concert at Las Vegas' iconic Fremont Street Experience.

Additional Spirit Day participants include the stars of TV Land's 'Hot in Cleveland,' Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White. They are joined by: Tatyana Ali, Lori Allen, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Katherine Bailess, John Barrowman, Kristen Bell, Nate Berkus, Jamie Brewer, Taylor Bright, Sarah Brightman, the Brown family, Michael Buckley, Jessica Capshaw, Carmindy, Crystal Chappell, Andy Cohen, DJ Pauly D, Lee Daniels, Leslie and Rick DeAngelo, Luisa D'Oliveira, Aviva Drescher, Dr. Drew, Monte Durham, Melissa Etheridge, Peter Facinelli, Reza Farahan, Lauren Foster, Nicola Foti, Joe Gatto, Ted Gibson, Sammi Giancola, Griffin Gluck, Steve Grand, Shenae Grimes & Josh Beech, Shanola Hampton, Paris Hilton, the cast of Hot in Cleveland, Mimi Imfurst, Kathy Ireland, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Dot Marie Jones, Kaya Jones, Jarod Joseph, Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Lamontagne, Kim Kardashian, Clinton Kelly, Kate Kelton, Jimmy Kimmel, George Kotsiopoulos, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Mary Lambert, Nene Leakes, Elyse Levesque, Noah Levy, Ali Liebert, Stacy London, Demi Lovato, Loni Love, Katie Lowes, Holly Madison, Josh Malina, Ricky Martin, Matt McGorry, Brandon Jay McLaren, Lori Michaels, Andy Mientus, Alyssa Milano, Alicia Minshew, Isaac Mizrahi, Jinkx Monsoon, Jill Morrison, Nicole Munoz, Kesha Nichols, Kelly Nishimoto, Stephanie Nogueras, Conan O'Brien, Mike O'Malley, Tyler Oakley, Suze Orman, Kelly Osbourne, Jenny Owen Youngs, Katrina Parker, Marysol Patton, Maury Povich, Jeff Perry, Eric Petersen, Scott Porter, Lauren Potter, Sarah Rafferty, Sara Ramirez, Andrew Rannells, The Read's Kid Fury & Crissle, Molly Ringwald, DJ Ruckus, Sara Rue, Sam Saboura, Elena Schuber, Ryan Serhant, June Shannon, Freddie Smith, Susan Sullivan, Josh Sussman, Raven Symone, Doreen Taylor, Morgan Taylor Campbell, Iqbal Theba, Jordan Todosey, JJ Totah, Bitsie Tulloch, Buddy Valastro, Mayra Veronica, Davey Wavey, Nick Wechsler, Betty Who, Marissa Winokur, Jacqueline M. Wood, Chely Wright, Kyra Zagorsky, Zendaya and WWE Divas Cameron, Naomi and Natalya.

"As our country moves closer to full legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, LGBT youth continue to face staggering rates of bullying at school," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Spirit Day is an opportunity for all of us to send a message of support to LGBT youth everywhere and for those young people to hold their heads high while our nation stands behind them."

For the third year in a row, MTV and mtvU turned purple on-air and online to celebrate Spirit Day, as will MTV’s Times Square Screens. MTV’s ACT Blog, which will also “go purple,” will feature special coverage of the day, and the first 500 people who share a purple-themed photo with MTV’s “A Thin Line” campaign on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SpiritDay will receive a free “A Thin Line” bracelet. The "A Thin Line" campaign, which empowers young people to help stop the spread of digital abuse, has already inspired more than 1.5 million young people to take action. 

Elvis Duran and the Morning Show are encouraging listeners in over 70 markets, as well as celebrity guests to go purple for Spirit Day. The Elvis Duran and the Morning Show turned its official Facebook and Twitter profile photos purple. Additionally, the ElvisDuran.com store (http://store.elvisduran.com/) is featuring a purple 'Spirit Day T-Shirt,' with all proceeds benefitting GLAAD's. The Elvis Duran and The Morning Show pledge video can be found here.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment this week debuted the 'Spirit Day Radio' station on its iHeartRadio digital music platform (http://www.iheart.com/original/Spirit-Day), featuring recording artists that have participated or will participate in Spirit Day to stand up against bullying. Featured artists include Ke$ha, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Demi Lovato, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Frank Ocean, Adam Lambert, Melissa Etheridge, and more. Additionally, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is sharing its support for Spirit Day online through the iHeartRadio Facebook and Twitter channels.

American Apparel this week launched an exclusive Spirit Day Store online, offering Spirit Day supporters a 10% discount on select purple items, with an additional 10% of 'purple proceeds' benefitting GLAAD's work to build support for equality.

Brands are participating on social media or encouraging employees to wear purple.  Additional corporate participants include ABC Family; AK Services; American Airlines; American Apparel; American Eagle Outfitters; Atelier lb; AT&T; BNP Paribas; Brown-Forman; B|W|R| Public Relations; Caesars; The Catalyst Center for ADHD; CBS; Chambord; Claxton Group, Inc.; The Coca-Cola Company; Comcast / NBCUniversal; Corvis Group, Inc.; Cresa; Deloitte; Delta Air Lines; Depository Trust & Clearing Company; DigitasLBI; Disney; Duane Morris; Facebook; Flight One Studios/angoMarks Photography; Humana; Hyatt; Iden Consultoria; Infiniti Graphics; Johnson & Johnson; Kaplan Thaler; Ketel One; Leo Burnett; Lifetherapy; Los Angeles International Airport; Macy's; Marriott International; Moxie; MSLGroup; MTV; Nielsen; PepsiCo; Performics; Propper Daley; Publicis Group; Publicis Healthcare Communications Group; PwC; Rappler; Razorfish; Rock On Rentals; Sapient; Simon & Schuster; Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Starcom MediaVest Group; Stokes Counseling Services; Sunshine Sachs; Telemundo; Thomson-Reuters Corporation; Tumblr; Toyota Financial Services; Uber Technologies, Inc., United Airlines; Verizon; Wells Fargo; Westfield Group; ZenithOptimedia; ZipCar

Chill Lover Radio, Clevver TV, JET, Seventeen.com, and vVv Gaming joined LBGT media outlets including: The Advocate – Advocate.com, The Backlot, Can We Talk For Real, Diversity News Magazine, EDGE Media Network, Frontiers, GO Magazine, The Huffington Post Gay Voices, Lez Get Real, Logo NewNextNow, Mombian, Next Magazine, Outsports, Queerty, Salon LGBTQ, and ThinkProgress.

Westfield Group, one of the world's largest shopping center portfolios around the world, is hosting Spirit Day photo booths in select Los Angeles locations. Westfiled turned more than 37 of their websites purple and will unveil a Spirit Day photo installation at Westfield Culver City later today with Lisa Vanderpump and members of GLAAD's Board of Directors.

Participating faith organizations include Auburn Seminary, Believe Out Loud, DignityUSA, Equally Blessed, Fortunate Families, Keshet, Metropolitan Community Churches, More Light Presbyterians, Mormons for Equality, The Naming Project, National Cathedral, Nazarene Ally, New Ways Ministry, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation, Religious Institute, Inc., SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, White Horse Project.

Participating local, national, and international organizations including 17-24-30 No To Hate Crime Campaign; ADISNIC; AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland; Ali Forney Center; AllOut; The Ally Coalition; American Federation of Teachers; Anti-Violence Project; Athlete Ally; Basic Rights Oregon; The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation; Beyond Identities Community Center (BICC)/Youth Leadership Training Academy (YLTA); Bienestar; Bronx LGBTQ Center; Campus Pride; Cape Town Pride; The Capitol Forum; Center for AIDS Prevention Studies | Mpowerment; Centerlink; Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association; Circle of Voices; Chutney Pride, Inc.; City of Riverside Human Relations Commission; City Year; Coalición por los Derechos Humanos; The DC Center for the LGBT Community; Elephants We Ignore; Equality California; Equality Florida; Equality Maryland; Equality Matters; Equality Michigan; Equality Ohio; Fair Wisconsin; Family Equality; Forum For Equality; Freedom to Marry; Friendfactor; Garden State Equality; Gay Men of African Descent; Gender Spectrum, Geeks Out, Georgia Equality; Georgia Safe Schools Coalition; GLAD; GLAAD; Global Faith & Justice Project; The GLBT Community Center of Colorado; GLSEN; GMHC; GO! Athletes; Groundspark; Gay-Straight Alliance Network; Halifax Pride; The Handsome Father; The Hetrick-Martin Institute; HONOR PAC; The Human Rights Campaign; Illumenate Bloomington; It Gets Better; Latino GLBT History Project; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; LGBT Center of Central PA; LGBTQ Center of the Finger Lakes; LGBT Technology Partnership; Missouri GSA Network; The Montrose Center; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Hispanic Media Coalition; National Women's Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation; Oasis Youth Center; One Iowa; OPEN Finance; OutFront Minnesota; PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center; Palm Beach County Human Rights Council; PFLAG National; Phoenix Pride; Point Foundation; PrideWorks; PROMO Missouri; The Q Center; Q Center; QMUNITY Gab Youth/Trans Youth Drop-In; RoofOverMyHead; SAGE; Santa Fe Mountain Center (NM Gay Straight Alliance Network); San Jose Pride; SoCal Social Club; Stonewall National Education Project; Straight But Not Narrow; Sunserve; Sylvia Rivera Law Project; Team Todd; Tennessee Equality Project; Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Transgender Law Center; Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; The Trevor Project; True Colors Fund; We Are Family; WikiQueer; Wisconsin Log Cabin Republicans; You Can Play Project are participating by wearing purple on October 17, turning their social media channels purple, and encouraging members to participate.

For a complete list of celebrity participants, media outlets, TV networks, organizations and corporations visit http://glaad.org/spiritday. Additional participants to be announced.

Each year school districts, high school gay-straight alliances, colleges and universities also participate. This year they include: Academia Semillas del Pueblo in California, Alliance Environmental Science and Technology High School in California, Auburn Seminary in New York, Boston Architectural College in Massachusetts, Black Hills High School's GSA in Washington, Boston Public School District in Massachusetts, Connecticut College, Watertown High School's Delta Club in Connecticut, Delta Omega Lambda Mississippi State University, Democracy Prep Charter High School in New York, EQuAl (Equality Through Queers and Allies) at Central Washington University; Ithaca College in New York, Jacksonville University's Gay-Straight Alliance in Florida, La Salle University in Pennsylvania, Los Angeles Unified School District in California, Madeira High School's Gay-Straight Alliance in Ohio, Meade County High School's GSA in Kentucky, Mississippi State University's Safe Zone, New Rochelle High School's Gay Straight Alliance in New York, Old Colony Regional Vocational High School in Massachusetts, Oswego East High School's Hate-Free @ OE in Illinois, OUTlaw at the West Virginia University College of Law, PRIDE!Kent at Kent State University in Ohio, Southern Oregon University's Queer Resource Center, State University of New York – Empire State College, Gainesville High School's STOMP – Students Teaching Open Mindedness and Pride in Florida, Stonehill College in Massachusetts, University of California Davis' LGBTQIA Resource Center, University of Maryland, Westwood High School's GSA in New Jersey. For a list please visit: http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/schools

Millions wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. With GLAAD’s help, Spirit Day has since garnered widespread support from celebrities, TV news and entertainment programs, corporations, organizations, schools, local communities, and even national landmarks. This year Spirit Day precedes GLSEN’s Ally Week and coincides with National Bullying Prevention Month.

According to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 43.9% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 81.9% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% because of their gender expression.

 

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