Spirit Day

This article was originally published on October 17, 2020.

Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day which is celebrated on the third Thursday of October. It is the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world. Spirit Day was started by Canadian teenager Britanny McMillan in response to a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay students in 2010. Since 2010, Brittany, with the help of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has inspired many celebrities, companies, and schools to wear purple and stand up against bullying.

Spirit Day is observed to support the LGBTQ community against bullying and harassment. LGBTQ youth disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Therefore, each year, millions wear purple to represent those who have faced such unfair treatment solely because of their identity.

On Thursday, many took to their social media platforms to share messages supporting LGBTQ youth and emphasized the importance of LGBTQ youth having more representation and helping the LGBTQ community have a safer place in the world. For instance, Blair Amadeus Imani, an African American historian and author, took to Twitter to say,

Protect LGBTQIA+ youth. Not only today, but everyday.

I, myself, am not LGBTQIA+. However, I know many who are and know for a fact that they don’t receive the treatment they do because of who they identify as. The stigma that surrounds LGBTQIA+ youth is horrendous and needs to be dissolved. We must start accepting and stand up to the unfair treatment people receive due to their identity. Fortunately, as time progresses, we are getting better at standing up for LGBTQ youth and uplifting them.

We must continue celebrating LGBTQ youth and take part in Spirit Day for the years to come. To learn more about Spirit Day and how to take part in it, you can visit the website: https://www.glaad.org/spiritday#what.

Homophobia is not an opinion, and there is no excuse for using LGBTQ slurs.