Transnational Unity: Latin America Went Purple for Spirit Day

This year saw an outpouring of support for Spirit Day (October 20) from community members, organizations, media outlets, corporations and celebrities like Jenni Rivera, Elvis Crespo, Paulina Rubio and Kate del Castillo. But notably, this year also witnessed the messages of LGBT youth empowerment and anti-LGBT bullying spreading throughout LGBT communities across Latin America. What started last year as a Facebook event created by teenager Brittany McMillan is now turning into an annual transnational movement, signaling that anti-LGBT bullying is not just a U.S. issue.

Brazil’s oldest LGBT organization, Grupo Gay Da Bahia, notable for being the South American nation’s source for LGBT human rights statistics, teamed up with GLAAD to promote Spirit Day and translated GLAAD’s Spirit Day content into Portuguese. Two Costa Rican organizations—one a college LGBT organization and the other a media outlet —created a Facebook event in honor of Spirit Day that called for people throughout the world to wear purple; the event received 30,000 RSVPs. Guatemalan LGBT online portal spread the word via Twitter and published instructions on how to go purple. Other organizations that teamed up with GLAAD for Spirit Day include Transfeministas (Ecuador), Movimiento por la Diversidad Sexual (Chile) and Lazos Solidarios En Acción (El Salvador).

Major and grassroots media in Latin America also covered the global Spirit Day efforts., a Brazilian-based web portal in the U.S., Spain and 16 Latin American countries, published an article about Ivonne Ortega, a governor from the state of Yucatan in Mexico and her public support for Spirit Day. The Mexican lifestyle magazine, Quién, one of the most widely-read magazines of that genre in the country, ran a story on Ricky Martin and his support for Spirit Day. In the blogosphere, Brazilian LGBT blog Gmais covered Grupo Gay Da Bahia’s collaboration with GLAAD on Spirit Day. Mexico-based blogger Enrique Torre Molina blogged about Spirit Day, and the piece was picked up by Mexican LGBT website Enehache.  Spirit Day also received online support from Mexican Internet TV network Canal G, who changed their website to purple; Online Mexican LGBT magazine MidOpen changed their Twitter and Facebook profile pictures to a Spirit Day badge; and Mexican visual artist Francisco Coronado changed his blog to purple.

-Brian Pacheco, Monica Trasandes and Enrique Torre Molina contributed to this report