Jill Layton
October 15, 2015 12:53 pm

Today we are rocking our favorite purple gear in support of a really important cause — Spirit Day. If you haven’t heard of Spirit Day, allow us to explain. Spirit Day exists to support LGBTQ youth who have experienced bullying. People are asked to wear purple on Spirit Day, because, according to Gilbert Baker, the creator of the rainbow flag, the purple stripe on the flag represents spirit. This all unites pretty harmoniously, with people wearing purple to show support for bullied LGBTQ youth.

Founded in 2010, Spirit Day was stared by Brittany McMillan, who at the time, was a high school student. She kept hearing stories of kids and teenagers who were committing suicide because of being bullied for their sexual orientation or their perceived sexual orientation, and she just didn’t feel like sitting back and doing nothing was an option. To mourn the tragic losses, she starting asking friends, family and strangers to wear purple. More and more people starting wearing purple, and McMillan eventually teamed up with GLAAD to officially create Spirit Day.

“It can mean a lot to people to know that whether they’re out of the closet — or still in the closet — that they have the support of their peers,” McMillan told MTV News. “Their friends, their families, their teachers, to be able to see on spirit day are willing to say they love them and support them and will have their back.”

GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis added, “Spirit Day has been instrumental to shining light on the disproportionate rates of bullying that afflict LGBT youth. As Spirit Day continues to grow in worldwide visibility and impact, potentially life-saving messages of support will reach more young people than ever before.”

A lot of people, including celebrities and corporations are going purple for Spirit Day, and encouraging others to do the same. The White House released a conversion therapy report for LGBTQ youth and is holding a Q&A, the NBA is having a full court slam dunk contest to show their support, morning TV shows wore purple, and Target and Wells Fargo are also showing their support — just to name a few.

The most important part of Spirit Day isn’t just wearing purple, however. It’s starting and continuing the conversation about how to stop bullying against LGBTQ youth (and really bullying in general). So, wear your purple, start a conversation, and help make a change for the better!

Related reading: 

Confessions of a former school bully

The brilliant way this teen is fighting back against bullying

[Images via Twitter and Instagram]

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