THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND ITS UN FREE AND EQUAL CAMPAIGN PARTNER WITH GLAAD FOR SPIRIT DAY

October 16, 2019

Spencer Harvey
Communications Coordinator, GLAAD
sharvey@glaad.org

The UN Free & Equal campaign releases video calling for action against anti-LGBTQ bullying and a landing page dedicated to anti-bullying education for youth and parents

New York, NY, Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - Today, GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced a partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and its UN Free & Equal campaign for Spirit Day, which takes place tomorrow, October 17.

As part of the partnership, the UN Free & Equal campaign has created an emotive campaign video, titled “Purple the World,” calling for action against anti-LGBTIQ bullying. The video is available in 7 languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish).

Watch the “Purple the World” video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQXf6NOHoy4&feature=youtu.be.

UN Free & Equal has also created a landing page for Spirit Day, where visitors can educate themselves about the human rights concerns facing LGBTIQ youth and find information about how allies, teachers, and governments can support LGBTIQ children who are being bullied. To access the unique Spirit Day landing page, visit https://www.unfe.org/spiritday/.

“The UN Human Rights office is proud to stand up for the human rights of young LGBTIQ people on Spirit Day - and every day. No child should be bullied for who they are or whom they love. We all have more power than we think to stop bullying and to build societies where all young people, in all their diversity, can grow and thrive. Together we can stop hatefulness and embrace freedom, dignity and equality,” said Veronica Birga, Chief of OHCHR’s Women's Human Rights and Gender Section and head of the UN Free & Equal campaign. “We’re excited to partner with GLAAD to win over more allies to stand in solidarity with LGBTIQ young people around the world.”

In July 2013, OHCHR launched UN Free & Equal – an unprecedented global UN public information campaign aimed at promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTIQ people. The campaign reaches around 2 billion social feeds around the world with their human rights messaging every year  – including powerful videos, impactful graphics and plain-language fact sheets. Several campaign videos rank among the most watched videos ever produced by the United Nations. National level spin-off campaigns and events have been organized in almost 35 countries, with visible support from UN, political, community and religious leaders and from celebrities in all regions of the world.

On Spirit Day - the world’s largest and most visible LGBTIQ anti-bullying campaign - millions of people around the world will wear purple or go purple online in a unified stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTIQ youth. Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals.

This year, presenting partners Pantene and Target, official partners Kellogg’s and the NBA & WNBA, as well as community partners Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Kirkland & Ellis, and Wells Fargo will all participate in the anti-bullying campaign.

“We are so honored to be partnering with UN Free & Equal this year to take the fight against anti-LGBTIQ bullying to a global level,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “By using its platform to call on leaders and governments to address the issue of bullying on Spirit Day, UN Free & Equal plays a crucial role in amplifying the message that we will continue to fight for a world where LGBTIQ youth are fully safe and accepted.”

Previous Spirit Day participants include the Obama White House, the Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Kerry Washington, Laverne Cox, Shaquille O'Neal, Jimmy Kimmel, Alyssa Milano, Bebe Rexha, Mj Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi, Troye Sivan, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA, all Major League Baseball teams, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more.

In 2018, #SpiritDay sparked over 150 unique press stories, 100k+ unique social mentions across platforms, and earned over 1.6 billion social media impressions.

Coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month, Spirit Day began in 2010 when then high school student Brittany McMillan created a Tumblr post asking students to wear purple following the suicide deaths of several LGBTIQ and LGBTIQ-perceived young people.

According to GLSEN's most recent National School Climate Survey, 70.1% of LGBTIQ students report being verbally harassed. Additionally, 59.5% of LGBTIQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 44.6% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 87.3% of LGBTIQ students experienced harassment or assault based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender expression, gender, religion, actual or perceived race and ethnicity, and actual or perceived disability.

For more information on Spirit Day, visit http://glaad.org/spiritday.

About UN Free & Equal campaign:

UN Free & Equal is a global United Nations campaign for equal rights and the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere. The campaign, launched in July 2013 and led by the UN Human Rights Office, aims to raise awareness of sexual, gender and bodily diversity and challenge negative stereotypes of LGBTI people around the world.