October 18 is Spirit Day, dedicated to speaking out against the bullying of LGBTQ youth and standing with them.
Queer youth disproportionately face bullying and harassment simply because of their identity.
Based on the 2015 findings of
According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a 2015 survey of more than 10,000 LGBTQ students age 13-21 in all 50 states undertaken by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network found that:
•More than 85 percent of LGBTQ students report facing verbal harassment
•Almost two-thirds of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic comments from teachers or school staff due to their gender expression
•Nearly 58 percent of LGBTQ students who were bullied did not report it because they lacked confidence that any action would be taken
•And nearly two thirds of students bullied who did report it said nothing was done in response or they were told simply to ignore it.
•About 58 percent of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation
•Nearly half of all LGBTQ students have experienced bullying
Spirit Day was initiated in 2010 by a Canadian high school student, Brittany McMillan, who was alarmed to learn of the high rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth. That autumn, in a highly publicized tragedy, Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman, jumped off the George Washington Bridge after facing harassment from his roommate, who secretly webcast Clementi’s intimate time with another man.
By pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day, students, teachers, parents, companies, and celebrities can show their support for queer students and take part in the world’s largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign.