Take the purple pledge

by Elisabeth Slay
Staff Writer

October 18 is a day to “Pledge Purple,” and stand against the haters and with LGBTQ+ youth.

It’s Spirit Day.

Founded in 2010 by then high schooler Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day has grown into somewhat of a national holiday celebrated by schools, students and organizations.

To celebrate this important day people all over the country post pictures, videos or boomerangs of their purple armor on social media and show the world a true army of support.

McMillan worked with Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to honor the many suicide deaths which occurred in 2010.

“Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ+ bullying and standing with LGBTQ+ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities,” according to GLAAD.

Though it was McMillan’s idea, GLADD helped spread the day’s popularity and worked with educators, celebrities, media outlets and major companies to Pledge Purple.

“Ultimately, I want Spirit Day to make just one person feel a little bit better about themselves, to feel safe enough in their own skin to be proud of who they are,” McMillan said.

On Spirit Day people are encouraged to Pledge Purple which means they wear purple to honor those who’ve committed suicide, support those who face bullying and fight against those who bully.

The color of choice was selected from the purple stripe in the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag because the creator of the flag, Gilbert Baker, believed purple represented spirit.

“Pledging to go purple on Spirit Day is a way for everyone, forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates and friends, to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ+ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world,” according to GLAAD.

Purple also symbolizes dignity which is significant to this day because Spirit Day celebrates those whose dignity has been tarnished by hatred and cruelty.

According to GLAAD’s website, 85 percent of LGBTQ+ youth report bullying, 49 percent experience cyber bullying and 64 percent report the abuse, but students report nothing is done.

It’s the goal of GLAAD to end statistics like these, and at the moment, their biggest weapon is Spirit Day.

For the last eight years, Spirit Day has occurred on the third Thursday in October which is also National Bullying Prevention month.

This event became the most recognized day of support for LGBTQ+ youth.

To Pledge Purple and stand against bullying, visit www.glaad.org.

Copyright The Gayly. 10/16/2018 @ 12:22 p.m. CST.