On Spirit Day, people unite against LGBTQ bullying by wearing purple. This is a day everyone can show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and participate in the most visible, largest anti-bullying campaign in the world. Spirit Day 2017, is on Oct. 19.
Eighty-six percent of LGBQ youth report being bullied at school, compared to 27 percent of all students, according to a 2007 study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
LGBTQ Bullying Statistics:
- 85.2 percent are verbally harassed
- 63.5 percent hear homophobic comments from teachers and school staff members
- 64 percent do not feel safe at school
- 44 percent feel unsafe because of gender identity
- 32 percent missed at least one day of school due to feeling unsafe
- 48.6 percent reported cyberbullying
- 44 percent said they were physically harassed, 22 percent experienced stronger violence
- 63.5 percent of students, who reported being physically bullied, stated the school staff did nothing or told the student to ignore the assailant.
Despite all these statistics, over half of the LGBT students did not report being bullied because they did not believe any intervention would occur.
How to Participate in Spirit Day
GLAAD created downloadable resource kits for students, teachers, and a general #SpiritDay 2017 kit. These resources are designed to guide the user in active participation and encourage others in the community to participate. It also includes facts and the history of Spirit Day.
Spirit Day History
Brittany McMillan was a high school student in 2010. She was surfing social media sites and discovered several posts on Tumblr discussing a recent series of LGBTQ teen suicides.
Purple is the color of spirit on the LGBTQ pride flag. McMillian told NBC, “Wearing purple would also symbolize support for the LGBTQ community and hopefully encourage youth to find the ‘spirit’ to persevere in times of struggle.”
Her purple posts went viral and GLAAD noticed. The group came alongside McMillian to amplify her message. The organization uses connections and resources across multiple industries to increase awareness and participation. GLAAD seeks support months before Spirit Day to ensure worldwide participation in the media, corporate community, sports teams, and non-profit organizations.
McMillian says the success of Spirit Day is due to GLAAD and those who have chosen to be involved since.
It’s the participants that make Spirit Day what it is; they create their own events and their own art, all in the name of showing LGBTQ young people that they care. I know how much it means to people around the world to know that they are supported by their communities.
Zeke Stokes, vice president of programming for GLAAD, said it matters when young people see they are supported by people they look up to, whether it be people in the family, the community or pop culture. This inspires confidence for LGBTQ young people to be their authentic selves.
Spirit Day is an annual event that occurs on the third Thursday of National Bullying Prevention Month, which is October.
By Jeanette Smith
NO Blullying: LGBT Bullying Statistics
NBC News: Spirit Day Founder Brittany McMillan on Campaign’s Success, Growth
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of mike wright’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License