Laverne Cox to light Empire State Building purple for #spiritday

GLAAD announced today that Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox will light the iconic Empire State Building purple for Spirit Day on October 16. This is the first time that the world's most famous office building will go purple for Spirit Day in a stand against bullying. NY Daily News broke the story.

“By recognizing National Bullying Prevention Month and lighting in purple for Spirit Day, the world’s most famous office building is supporting countless kids across the world,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “At a time when eight in 10 LGBT youth are harassed at school, it’s critical that we let them know it’s okay to be who you are.”

"Bullying was an unfortunate part of my daily reality growing up in Alabama,” said actress and advocate Laverne Cox. “I am committed to doing what I can so that young people don't have to go through what I did. All of our children need to feel safe to be themselves at home, school and in our communities.”

Laverne will be accompanied by GLAAD and the youth featured in "Laverne Cox Presents: The T word," an upcoming documentary that will premiere on MTV and Logo TV on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 7pm ET/PT. The documentary, which was produced and hosted by Cox, takes an intersectional look at the lives of seven transgender youth across America. "The T Word" is part of MTV's "Look Different" campaign, which aims to fight race, gender and LGBT bias by providing information, education and avenues to action.

MTV and Laverne have actively participated in Spirit Day in previous years. Laverne served as a Spirit Day ambassador in 2013 and MTV, its stars, and its billboard in Time Square all went purple to honor the campaign. GLAAD continues to work with Laverne, MTV, and Logo to continue these traditions.

October is not only when Spirit Day takes place annually, but is also National Bullying Prevention month. Schools and communities come as one to show their support as they raise awareness about people who have been bullied in the past and who are still being bullied till this very day.

According to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 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 63.9% because of their gender expression. 

Spirit Day, which will take place on October 16, inspires millions to wear purple or "go purple" online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its national partners PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, as well as official partners Comcast-NBCUniversal and Google, and supporting partner American Eagle Outfitters.

It's not too late to take the Spirit Day pledge. Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against anti-LGBT bullying.