Stand against bullying: Celebrate Spirit Day 2020

Here we share what Spirit Day represents, how a teenager turned it into an international movement and how you can celebrate with pride.

Fingers holding up a rainbow heart

Today is October 15, 2020, the third Thursday in October (I can’t believe we’re already three weeks into October). Besides from time flying at a strange pace this year, today is Spirit Day 2020.

Now, I can already tell you have questions: What is Spirit Day? Do I have to dress up? Why do we celebrate it? Relax, we’re not going to leave you out in the cold, because the heart of Spirit Day is showing others that they are not alone. Whether we are new to the LGBTQ+ community or are a long time veteran; we all need a reminder from time to time that in this great big scary world that constantly changes, we are there for one another.

Let’s be GLAAD today

It all began back in 2010 with a Canadian teenager named Brittany McMillan, who wanted to respond with a day of love and hope to a string of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay students. McMillan teamed up with GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to create the first Spirit Day. In the last ten years, countless celebrities and brands have joined in celebrating, from Oprah Winfrey to Nick Jonas, from Disney to YouTube, all have partnered with GLAAD to show their support.

McMillan said about the holiday, “Ultimately, I want Spirit Day to make just one person feel a little bit better about his or herself, to feel safe enough in their own skin to be proud of who they are.”

Break out the purple

If you’re scrolling through Twitter or Instagram today and see that all of your favorite celebrities are wearing various shades of purple, know that it’s for Spirit Day. In fact, you might see a lot more people on the street sporting purple today, and it’s to stand up against bullying the LGBTQ+ community. It doesn’t matter what or who you identify as, go digging through your closet for that lavender jumper and wear it with pride. Encourage all your friends to join in this purple parade.

Why purple you ask? The creator of the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker, defines the purple stripe in the flag as ‘representing spirit’.

Kindness looks good on you

Now, we can wear violet from head to toe, retweet and like every post about Spirit Day, but at the end of the day, if we don’t stand up against those who bully members of the LGBTQ+ community, then all of this doesn’t mean much.

From the American organization, GLAAD, statistics show 70 per cent of LGBTQ+ youth in the US report being bullied, including being bullied by teachers. 53 per cent did not report harassment, because they doubted they would find help and support. These statistics don’t even include cyberbullying or the fact that 29 per cent of LGBTQ+ youth experience homelessness, get kicked out, or run away from a difficult family life. Bullying and harassment, whether online or physically in person can lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

If anything, Spirit Day 2020 should be a reminder that we should be present for others, being good friends, allies, and community members, to show no one is alone.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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