GLAAD Launches Countdown to Spirit Day

GLAAD today launched the official countdown to Spirit Day, the largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world accelerating acceptance of LGBTQ youth.

Spirit Day, taking place Oct. 19, inspires millions of people around the world to wear purple or ‘go purple’ online in a unified stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBTQ youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its presenting partners Target, and Wells Fargo, as well official partners Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual, and NBA/WNBA, and supporting partners Barilla, Kirland & Ellis, and NFL.

“Spirit Day is a vital initiative that highlights the serious issue of bullying and its disproportionate impact on LGBTQ youth,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. “It also sends powerful messages of support, letting LGBTQ and other marginalized youth know that they are not alone – something sorely needed in our increasingly polarized society.”

To mark the countdown to Spirit Day and the back-to-school season, GLAAD also launched crucial anti-bullying resources for educators and students.

Coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month, Spirit Day began in 2010 after a high school student posted the idea to her Tumblr page following the suicide deaths of several LGBTQ and LGBTQ-perceived young people.

According to GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, 57.6% of LGBTQ students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 43.3% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 85.2% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment (e.g., called names or threatened) at school based on a personal characteristic.

Previous Spirit Day participants include The White House, The Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Shaquille O’Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more. For more information on Spirit Day and how GLAAD accelerates acceptance, visit http://glaad.org/spiritday