Major League Baseball steps up to the plate for LGBTQ youth on Spirit Day

Major League Baseball hit a grand slam with its participation in the 2020 Spirit Day campaign on October 15.

Millions of baseball fans from around the globe saw their favorite teams go purple in honor of Spirit Day. All thirty league teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and more took to social media to spread a message of support for LGBTQ youth by going purple and calling out bullying.

MLB also released a heartwarming video, encouraging allyship for LGBTQ youth while raising awareness for the bullying and harassment they experience. The video was shared widely across social media and featured Billy Bean, former player and out gay advocate. Bean serves as a Vice President and special assistant to Commissioner at MLB.

MLB’s Spirit Day actions are part of their year round ‘Shred Hate’ anti-bullying initiative. ‘Shred Hate’ is a bullying prevention initiative created by ESPN, supported by Major League Baseball and X Games, that seeks to eliminate bullying by encouraging kids to choose kindness. 'Shred Hate' is led out of the league's front office under the leadership of Billy Bean.

All 30 teams’ logos went purple on social media for the largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign for LGBTQ youth. MLB is a longtime supporter of GLAAD and Spirit Day. In 2019, MLB and the New York Yankees invited GLAAD Campus Ambassadors and staff to attend the ALCS playoff games. This year, even though fans are not allowed at games, MLB made sure they got their message out there during playoff season. MLB Network featured Spirit Day shoutouts on their shows all day while their anchors sported purple shirts and ties. 

“For me [Spirit Day] has a deep, deep meaning and I could not be more appreciative of MLB and all 30 of our clubs [that] have supported over the last six years that I’ve been part of this program,” Bean said in an interview on MLB Network. “One person can’t do it. It’s a unified effort and I see it as a great example of unity in a time where we could use more of that.”

MLB’s continued support of Spirit Day shines a spotlight on the reality that LGBTQ youth are disproportionately bullied because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. The league’s dedication to Spirit Day shows a powerful commitment to creating further acceptance for LGBTQ people in sports — and that is something all fans can root for.

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 Delta Air Lines, Kellogg Company, and Target, official partners Amazon, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City Council, and Skittles, as well as community partners Kirkland & Ellis, NBA & WNBA will all participate in 2020 Spirit Day.

In 2020, Spirit Day takes on a renewed importance due to the unprecedented challenges facing LGBTQ youth. This year, many LGBTQ youth are beginning the school year at home and are unable to attend in-person meetings of Gay-Straight Alliances, Gender-Sexuality Alliances or on-campus college LGBTQ organizations. Some LGBTQ youth may be confined to a home environment that may be unsupportive or abusive. Calls to The Trevor Project’s hotline for LGBTQ youth have at times more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This year, Spirit Day is on October 15, 2020. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you've got their backs at Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.