Proud to wear purple today! Everyone should check out the article “Purple is for everyday.” because it explains the importance of wearing purple today, but how vital it is to “wear” purple all the time. Check it out! Today, Wednesday, October 20, 2010 marks “Spirit Day” in response and honor to the many students who have recently committed suicide from LGBT bullying. Tyler Clementi was one student who committed suicide after his roommate posted a live-stream video online of Tyler allegedly having sex with another man. Sadly, Tyler is not the only person who had this experience and chose to end his own life because of it.
Spirit Day was created by teenager Brittany McMillan who wanted to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying. The idea was picked up quickly via many social media sites (I’m loving the support from Twitter #SpiritDay) and brought attention to the cyber-bullying and how many of those in the LGBT community are abused on social networking sites. Having Facebook, Twitter, blog, or any other social media page comes with responsibility, and if not used correctly, consequences. Keith posts about the “Pause Before You Post” series also reflect the importance of being conscious of the message you are sending via your social networking pages. One post states that 68% of youth would say something on an online outlet that they wouldn’t say in a face-to-face interaction; which definitely reflects on the anti-LGBT online bullying that has been popping up recently.
I thought Brittany’s quote about Spirit Day summarizes why we are wearing purple and what we are representing today:
“On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the seven gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months, many of them due to homophobic abuse in their homes or at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality.”
I also learned about The It Gets Better Project, which allows LGBT students to post videos on the site about their experiences. The video archive is available for anyone to view and the goal is to help LGBT students find hope from other people’s stories. Adults are posting to be a “mentor” (via video) to LGBT youth that feel like they have no where to turn. A few statistics I found on their site:
- 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school.
- LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.
- More than 1/3 of LGBT kids have attempted to commit suicide.
- LGBT kids are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide then our straight peers.
- LGBT youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.
These statistics are not okay, and need to change. RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Cody J. Barker, Harrison Chase Brown, Caleb Nolt, Billy Lucas, Jeanine Blanchette, and Chantal Dube. I’m proud to go to a school and live in a country that is taking stand against anti-LGBT bullying. I’m thrilled people are so proactive to show respect and support for those who are getting tormented simply for their sexuality. Watch what you are saying on your social media page and remember to “wear” purple everyday; remember those who took their own life after anti-LGBT bullying and support the movement to end this.