By Kayla Thompson, Communities of Color Junior Associate GLAAD.org | October 20, 2022
Today Black LGBTQ celebrities, Black and LGBTQ-led non-profits and community-based organizations, and Black allies lined our timelines with love and a sea of purple for #SpiritDay 2022.
While LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience bullying, with 76.1% of LGBTQ students reporting being verbally harassed, Black LGBTQ youth are found to experience higher rates of bullying, stress, and mental health challenges related to harassment based on their intersectional identities. According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 “Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report, 67% of Black LGBTQ youth “have been verbally insulted because of their LGBTQ identity,” and many Black LGBT youth face harassment from family members and the Black community at large.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it is crucial for the community to show up for LGBTQ youth, and it is especially important for us to demonstrate our support for Black LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth of color.
Take a look below at some of the Black voices that took the pledge and showed up loud, proud, and in purple for LGBTQ youth today.
Celebrities and Shows
Community and Faith-based Organizations
GLAAD organizes celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, faith groups, school districts, organizations, colleges and universities in what has become the most visible anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign in the world. Purple symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.
The annual tradition was started in 2010 by GLAAD and then high school student Brittany McMillan, in memory of the LGBTQ youth who died by suicide. McMillan encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October — a day that came to be known as Spirit Day.
Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially trans and nonbinary youth, are experiencing a level of scrutiny in schools we have never seen, leading to an environment rife with stressors beyond the peer-to-peer bullying of the past. From book bans, to bans on trans youth in sports, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using correct pronouns, the means by which a student can express themselves and see others like them are increasingly being challenged.
GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey, released earlier this week, reported nearly 82% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe in school. 76% experienced in-person verbal harassment (e.g., called names or threatened) and 31% were physically harassed. Earlier this year, The Trevor Project reported 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth say that recent debates around anti-trans bills have negatively impacted their mental health.
GLAAD’s 2022 Social Media Safety Index found severe harassment for LGBTQ users when compared to 2021. This anti-LGBTQ rhetoric translates to real-life harm and has been cited as drivers of many of the over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states around the country this year alone, many of which target LGBTQ young people.
Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you’ve got their backs at glaad.org/spiritday.
For more information on Spirit Day, visit glaad.org/spiritday and follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.