Spirit Day is celebrated on the third Thursday in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
In early October 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan promulgated the observance of a new commemoration called Spirit Day, the first observance of which took place on October 20, 2010, in which people wear the color purple to show support for LGBT young people who are victims of bullying. Promoted by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of this cause, and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design. The name, Spirit Day comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow Flag, defined by Gilbert Baker, creator of that flag, as ‘representing “spirit”‘.
The observance was inaugurated in response to a rash of widely-publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi. Over 1.6 million Facebook users signed up for the event globally.
Further national and international attention was drawn to Spirit Day when Clint McCance, the vice-president of an Arkansas school board, posted incendiary anti-homosexual remarks on the Facebook social networking website. McCance ultimately apologised and resigned on the CNN program Anderson Cooper 360, however he received further criticism for what many perceived to be an insincere non-apology apology, including from Dr. Phil in a later Anderson Cooper interview. McCance submitted his resignation letter to the Midlands School District effective November 1, 2010
Getting involved is easy — participants are asked to simply “go purple” on October 17th as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. Learn more & go purple at www.glaad.org/spiritday.