Spirit Day: Community Organizations Empower LGBT Youth of Color

On October 19, supporters across the world will Go Purple for Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Today, 8 out of 10 LGBT students report experiencing harassment at school, according to GLSEN's 2011 National Climate Survey.

Last year, GLSEN found that 63.9% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, while another 27% reported being physically harassed, and six out of ten felt unsafe at school. For students of color, more than half of African American students felt harassed and unsafe in school as found in Shared Differences, which highlights bullying experiences for LGBT youth of color.

GLAAD is proud stand alongside so many community organizations that focus on empowering LGBT youth of color and their experiences as LGBT youth. Spirit Day has garnered great partnerships with organizations such as:

National Black Justice Coalition, Trans People of Color Coalition, Gay Men of African Descent, LGBT Leaders of African Descent, API Equality- LA, Gay Asian Pacific Island Mend of New York, and National Youth Pride Services. Here’s a full list of our community partners, here, all creating awareness and empowerment.

Frank Walker of National Youth Pride Services and the National Strategy for Black Gay Youth in America understands firsthand the obstacles and burdens that LGBT youth of color face. He states,

"National Youth Pride Services supports GLAAD's Spirit Day as it focuses on one of the points of the National Strategy For Black Gay Youth In America: bullying. Black LGBT youth face bullying on many levels: school, church and even at home. Spirit Day provides the nation with a day to bring attention to the effects bullying can have on LGBT youth that would ordinarily be overlooked."

In addition, Spirit Day Ambassadors like Shaquille O’Neal, Janet Mock and IKON Magzine’s Tiq Milan of GLAAD’s 2012 Media Institute and Live Out Loud’s “Homecoming Project” have been pushing the importance of going purple.

Media partners have also been instrumental. BET voiced its support in going purple, today. Clay Cane of Equality Pride Radio and BET.com entertainment editor also issued his continued and unhinging support to stand in solidarity for LGBT youth. Clay hosts “Clay Cane Live on WWRL 1600 AM via Equality Pride Radio.

Clay states, “I will bullied like hell in middle school and high school.  It was a time in my life where I felt isolated and unsupported.  Being a kid with a free spirit brought me terror in the hallways, abuse from teachers and laughs from classmates.  At one point, I never thought I would get through it — but I did.  Now, being a free spirit has only helped me in life and my career.  I am proud to stand in solidarity with Spirit Day!"

This unified effort will send a powerful message to LGBT youth. GLAAD appreciates the outpouring of support from of our community members this October 19 for Spirit Day 2012.