Go Purple for Spirit Day and take a stand against bullying

Thu. October 17, 2013 8:05 AM by Bill Pritchard

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photo credit // glaad.org/spiritday
Millions of people today are "going purple" for Spirit Day, an annual day in October when Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The idea for Spirit Day came in 2010, from teenager Brittany McMillan, who wanted to remember those young people who lost their lives to suicide and to take a stand against bullying.

"Going purple" involves wearing purple, as well as turning logos and other social media badges purple to stand against bullying.

Spirit Day is promoted each year by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which recruits hundreds of celebrities, entertainment organizations, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, faith groups, school districts, colleges and universities for the campaign.

"As our country moves closer to full legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, LGBT youth continue to face staggering rates of bullying at school," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said. "Spirit Day is an opportunity for all of us to send a message of support to LGBT youth everywhere and for those young people to hold their heads high while our nation stands behind them."

This year's ambassadors include transgender athlete Kye Allums, out basketball players Jason Collins and Brittney Griner and out WWE superstar Darren Young.

Viewers of "Access Hollywood," "CNBC," "Extra, Jimmy Kimmel Live," "MSNBC," "Telemundo," "The Talk," "The View," "Watch What Happens Live," the "Wendy Williams Show" and more will notice a lot of purple in the hosts' clothing. In Chicago, the anchors of "NBC 5 Today" participated by "going purple."

Celebrities committed to Spirit Day include Oprah Winfrey, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White, Tatyana Ali, Jimmy Kimmel, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Kristen Bell, Nate Berkus, Sarah Brightman, Nick Cannon, Laverne Cox, Aviva Drescher, Dr. Drew, Melissa Etheridge, Nicola Foti, Shenae Grimes & Josh Beech, Dot Marie Jones, Mary Lambert, Demi Lovato, Loni Love, Holly Madison, Lori Michaels, Isaac Mizrahi, Stephanie Nogueras, Suze Orman, Eric Petersen, Mary Povich, Sara Rue, Doreen Taylor, Jordan Todosey, Davey Wavey, Nick Wechsler, Betty Who and Zendaya.

Landmarks that will be colored purple include Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience, the LAX pylon lights, the New York Stock Exchange and Times Square, as well as billboards at American Eagle Outfitters, MTV, NASDAQ, and the Thomson Reuters building.

To celebrate the day, Chicago-native and out country singer Steve Grand will play a free concert at Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience.

Brands participating in Spirit Day include: ABC Family, Atelier lb, American Airlines, American Apparel, American Eagle Outfitters, AT&T, BNP Paribas, Brown-Forman, B|W|R| Public Relations, Caesars, CBS, Chambord, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast / NBCUniversal, Cresa, Delta Air Lines, Depository Trust & Clearing Company, Disney, Facebook, Hyatt, Iden Consultoria, Infiniti Graphics, Johnson & Johnson, Kaplan Thaler, Ketel One, Leo Burnett, Los Angeles International Airport, MSLGroup, MTV, PepsiCo, Publicis Groupe, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, PwC, Razorfish, Rock On Rentals, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, SoCal Social Club, Starcom, Stokes Counseling Services, Telemundo, Thomson-Reuters Corporation, Tumblr, Toyota Financial Services, United Airlines, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Westfield Group, ZenithOptimedia, ZipCar.

Faith organizations such as Auburn Seminary, Believe Out Loud, DignityUSA, Equally Blessed, Fortunate Families, the Metropolitan Community Churches, More Light Presbyterians, The Naming Project, New Ways Ministry, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation, The Religious Institute, Inc., and SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity are all going purple for Spirit Day, encouraging congregations and members to go purple. Several congregations are planning special commemorations or events for Spirit Day.

Spirit Day coincides with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network Ally Week, as well as National Bullying Prevention Month. According to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 43.9% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 81.9% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% because of their gender expression.

ChicagoPride.com also supports Spirit Day.

Visit www.glaad.org/spiritday for more information and spread the word by using hashtag #SpiritDay and @glaad and @gopride on Twitter.

Wearing purple? Share your photo with ChicagoPride.com on Instagram use hashtag #SpiritDay and @glaad and @gopride.