Detroit Pistons’ Reggie Bullock donates $25,000 to GLAAD in memory of his sister and goes purple with the NBA and WNBA for Spirit Day

October 16, 2018

Today, Detroit Pistons player Reggie Bullock announced his participation in GLAAD’s Spirit Day and anti-bullying campaign, sending a message of acceptance to all LGBTQ people. Bullock has been an outspoken, brave, and true ally to LGBTQ people, and especially transgender women of color, since he lost his transgender sister, Mia Henderson, in 2014.

Bullock will participate in Spirit Day on Thursday, October 18, when millions wear purple or go purple online in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ young people. Purple symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. The NBA and WNBA, MLB and other sports leagues and athletes support Spirit Day and will participate across social media channels. 

After meeting with the GLAAD Media Institute earlier this year, Bullock began working with GLAAD to advance LGBTQ acceptance and raise awareness around the violence that transgender women face in the U.S. The GLAAD Media Institute enables people to build the core skills and techniques that effect positive cultural change. Bullock today announced a $25,000 donation to fund transgender advocacy in the GLAAD Media Institute in memory of his sister, Mia.

“Reggie Bullock has tirelessly used his platform to spread powerful messages of LGBTQ acceptance and understanding,” said Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs at GLAAD. “He is not only a tremendous supporter and ally, but his voice is sorely needed in the fight to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance around the country.”

“I think standing up for people who sometimes don’t have as big a voice or as big of a platform and people who are being treated unfairly, is the ultimate measure of a man,” said Pistons Forward Blake Griffin. “For someone, especially in Reggie’s position, where he’s able to do probably whatever he wants, where he gets to play the game of basketball and do what he loves for a living; for him to spend his time, and not only money, but energy and effort on something like that, you can tell how genuine it (his support of LGBTQ) is.”

Bullock also serves as an official ambassador for Athlete Ally and has created the Mia Henderson Scholarship in his sister’s name, providing a 5K annual scholarship for a student showing non-bias leadership at his alma mater, Kingston High School, in North Carolina.

To recognize Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), Bullock and the Detroit Pistons collaborated with GLAAD on a video about Reggie’s journey and his sister. The video sheds light on how Bullock uses his platform to bring attention to the violence that transgender people encounter in this country, as well as support, celebrate and accelerate acceptance for all LGBTQ individuals. He also participated in a TDOV Rally calling for public support of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Trans Acceptance Policy.

Recently at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Reggie brought the crowd to its feet with his speech. Trans actors Amiyah Scott (Star) and Angelica Ross (Pose) introduced Bullock at the event.

During his speech, Bullock said, “For so long I didn’t understand my sister. I loved her and I was happy to see her living her truth, but I wasn’t educated about what she was going through. She never even saw me play college basketball in person because I was worried what my teammates would think, what people would think, and I really regret that. I want the world to know what acceptance looks like.”

Reggie has also leveraged his platform by getting an LGBTQ tattoo to show his solidarity with the LGBTQ community every game and bring attention to Mia’s story and the current issues plaguing the transgender community. Bullock was also the first active NBA player to ride the NBA’s float during New York City Pride March in June.

About Spirit Day

Each year, millions go purple for GLAAD’s Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth in a united stand against bullying. Started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan in response to numerous young LGBTQ lives lost to suicide, Spirit Day now draws the participation of celebrities, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, and advocates around the world, all joining together to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth.

Presenting partners Hilton, Target, and Wells Fargo, official partners Johnson & Johnson, the NBA and WNBA, as well as supporting partners Kellogg’s, Barilla, and Kirkland & Ellis will all participate in the anti-bullying campaign.

As anti-LGBTQ policies, hate crimes, and harassment are on the rise, it is now especially important to let all marginalized youth know they are supported.

This year, Spirit Day is on October 18, 2018. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you've got their backs at Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.