(619) 505-7777

LGBT Spirit Day celebrated from San Diego to across the nation

SAN DIEGO -- The second annual "Spirit Day" on Thursday was a huge success, says the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), one of its sponsors.

In an email to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Seth Adams, GLAAD's Communications & Publications Manager, said that the day sent a powerful message of support and acceptance to countless LGBT youth.

"From Times Square to LAX and all the way to the White House, millions of people went purple yesterday to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying," Adams wrote.

Spirit Day was created in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan as a sign of support for LGBT youth, after reading about the numerous suicides committed by LGBT-identified youth. McMillan created an event page on Facebook for Oct. 20, 2010 and the hundreds of thousands of people around the world responded.

This year, organizations like GLAAD got involved with the campaign and were able to get a number of important celebrities to sign on and bring visibility to the campaign which encourages people to wear purple on Oct. 20 to stand up against anti-LGBT bullying.

A number of media outlets, including SDGLN, participated in the day by "colorizing" their logos or changing the background "skins" on their sites to reflect the color purple.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter seemed to be a sea of purple as participants used applications provided by GLAAD to colorize their profile photographs.

Chase Cain, a reporter from Tampa, Florida's 10 News, posted a photo of himself to his Twitter account saying: "Sportin' a purple tie on TV tonight for #SpiritDay against #LGBT bullying."

GLAAD's Spirit Day Facebook page includes hundreds of posts from people expressing their support of the day.

In San Diego, reports from local universities such as SDSU, UCSD and CSU San Marcos said that the campuses seemed to be bathed in purple, as more people than usual seemed to be wearing the color.

CSUSM's President Dr. Karen Haynes posted a message to her blog Thursday about inclusion and civility on the campus.

Today, people across the country are celebrating Spirit Day an opportunity to speak out against bullying and the marginalization of students, from elementary school to colleges and universities.

The occasion marks an opportune time for Cal State San Marcos to reaffirm our commitment to our core values of inclusiveness and respect. It is our differences ­ in ideas, backgrounds, religions, cultures, and more ­ that have created the rich and diverse environment in which we learn, teach, and work.

Haynes ended the post providing a list support services available to students, including the campus LGBTQ Pride Center.

Some however, have questioned whether or not campaigns like "Spirit Day" have any real impact.

In a post on "OutSpoken NYC" blogger Dan questions whether these social media-based campaigns are a form of, what he calls, "slacktivism."

"Yes wearing purple will show LGBT teens that we are supportive and that bullying should be stopped, but besides awareness, what does it do?" Dan wrote. "There shouldn't be a specific day to be against bullying. The end of bullying should be sought out every. single. day."

GLAAD responded to such claims in a post by Elana Stone on its blog.

"If you’ve ever been asked the question, 'what difference does it make to wear purple – that doesn’t change anything!' Then take a moment to read through some of the inspiring comments, photos, and thoughts people shared on the Spirit Day Facebook page," Stone wrote.

Her post included a number of comments from people who were affected by Spirit Day, saying "youth everywhere saw celebrities talking about Spirit Day."

GLAAD plans to continue supporting Spirit Day for years to come and encourages those who participated in yesterday's campaign to post their photos and messages to its site. Photos, stories, and videos can be submitted via Flickr, Mobli, YouTube and email by clicking HERE.

For more information about Spirit Day, click HERE.

Top left photo: Local activist Fernando Lopez created a Spirit Day photo for his Facebook profile. Middle left photo: The White House posted a colorized version of its logo on its Facebook page on Spirit Day. Bottom left photo: Florida TV news reporter Chase Cain in a purple tie on Spirit Day.