LGBT Community urged to support Spirit Day

Around the world on 20th October, people will be wearing purple for LGBT ‘Spirit Day’ to honour the memory of the teens who took their own lives in as a result bullying and to show support to our youth. The day was created two weeks ago by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan who wanted to bring awareness to the bullying suffered by LGBT teens, and has spread quickly across social networking sites.

Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The goal of Spirit Day is to show LGBT youth who are victims of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment that there is a vast community of people who support them. As the event’s Facebook page says: “This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.”

Last week after receiving thousands of concerned e-mails from constituents, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) worked with Facebook to develop a solution to address violent and hateful anti-LGBT comments posted to a Spirit Day Facebook event page. That page now has over one million people confirmed to participate.

Although recent events have taken place in the United States, it is acknowledged that many countries across the world still have major issues with anti gay bullying and harassment.

Social networking giant Facebook has promised to react more swiftly to take down anti-gay hate comments.

Recent grass-roots reaction to recent gay teen suicides in the US have seen several popular Facebook events and groups spring up, but unfortunately they have attracted nasty homophobic comments, shocking the site’s LGBT users.

Facebook says its policy is to take down homophobic commentary and it has assured the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that it will take swift and firm action when people flag inappropriate comments to its moderators.

“Educating people about the lasting and damaging impacts of ignorant and hateful comments is a responsibility shared by parents, educators, organisations like GLAAD, and services like Facebook,” website spokesperson Andrew Noyes said in a statement.

“We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously.”

Local support groups and helplines based in and around the PrideWest area can be found in our Health and Support section.