Thursday, October 18, 2012

LGBT History Month: Spirit Day

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In October 2010, Brittany McMillan urged her friends to wear purple in memory of the LGBT youth who were the victims of bullying and had committed suicide. She called it Spirit Day after the purple stripe in the Rainbow Flag designed by Gilbert Baker which stands for spirit.  The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) added their voice to McMillan's and on October 20, 2010, people all over wore purple, including celebrities such as Ryan Seacrest, Jenna Ushkowitz and the cast of Glee, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Since then Spirit Day has become a global movement with millions of people participating.

Why wear purple?
  • One in four students from elementary through high school have reported being bullied at school because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Six in 10 US teens witness bullying at least once a day.
  • More than 91% of LGBT students say they hear homophobic slurs frequently (as often as 26 times a day) and faculty intervenes about 3% of the time.
  • Teen students (straight and LGBT) say the worst harassment is to be called gay or lesbian.
  • 27% of LGBT students report having been physically hurt by another student.
  • LGBT students are five times more likely to skip school because they don't feel safe; more than 64% say they don't feel safe.
  • LGBT youth are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide, and 30% of all suicides are related to sexual identity.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBT youth.

  • And perhaps most important of all:
  • In a typical class of 30 students, eight students (27%) will be directly affected by homosexuality, either their own, one or more siblings, or one or both parents.


Also this month:

~ October is also National Bullying Prevention Month.

~ October 10th was Unity Day; wear orange to show your support and remind others about the importance of bullying prevention.

~ October 11th was National Coming Out Day when we celebrate coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or as an ally. See the Human Rights Campaign website for resources on coming out.

~ October 19th is Spirit Day; wear purple on this day to support LGBT youth & stand up against bullying.

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