Today is Spirit Day!
Originating 5 years ago, Spirit Day was created to highlight and promote support for LGBT victims of bullying on the third Thursday of October each year, by wearing the colour purple.
The name 'Spirit Day' originates from the purple stripe of the Rainbow flag; which Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker has stated represents 'spirit'.
You're all likely aware that LGBT youths continue to be one of the most targeted groups for bullying across the globe. We live in a world where the word 'gay' is still used to indicate something negative, and where slurs such as 'dyke', 'fag', and 'tranny' are still used against lesbians, gay men and trans people in a hurtful way.
However, the abuse doesn't stop at verbal. In GLSEN's (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) 2011 National School Climate Survey, 44% of LGBT youths who reported bullying experienced physical harassment, and 22% were the victims of stronger physical violence. Of these attacks, 61% went unreported, as many individuals felt their claims would go unsupported within the school environment, or feared repercussions. It is widely accepted that LGBT youths of colour are at an even higher risk for emotional and physical violence within our schools.
More recently, UK non-profit organization Ditch The Label held its Annual Bullying Survey in conjunction with 73 schools and colleges (non-tertiary) across the country. Their 2015 survey found that LGBT youth continue to among the groups who are at the highest risk for bullying; including young people with disabilities and those who come from low income backgrounds.
In world where, earlier this month, 22-year-old trans woman of colour Kiesha Jenkins became the 20th trans person murdered in the United States for 2015, it is clear that there needs to be drastic changes in our attitude towards bullying.
Kiesha Jenkins #SayHerName
This kind of institutionalized hatred against the unfamiliar, and the unknown? It starts young.
We need to start to educating our young people against the damaging effects of bullying.
You can support Spirit Day by grabbing something purple and throwing it on for the day.
Here's our Bobo Blogger Elli in her Purple Faded Paisley 'Yes Homo' tee which you can grab HERE:
So, let's all celebrate Spirit Day today, and wear purple to show your support for LGBT youth both in and outside of the classroom!