Spirit Day goes well beyond the United States. Spirit Day was actually started by a high school student in Canada who used the purple from the pride flag, which represents spirit, to shine a light on anti-bullying efforts and the crucial role that supportive friends and family play in a LGBTQ youth’s life. Since then, millions of people, community groups, institutions, and companies from various countries turned out to support LGBTQ youth and take a stand against bullying.
Take a look at some of the fantastic people and organizations around the world that went purple today!
Ahead of Spirit Day, influencers Mr. Chill and Mr. Fluffy of Brussels, Belgium encouraged their followers to prepare for Thursday’s explosion of purple. They shared that they want to encourage universal love and acceptance of everyone.
Along with Mr. Fluffy and Mr. Chill, Free to be Me Canada posted on their Twitter a couple days before Spirit Day, emphasizing the need to support LGBTQ youth every day of the year, not just on a Thursday in October.
On October 20, we #GoPurple for #SpiritDay!
But every day, we must speak out against #2SLGBTQI+ bullying and harassment. As allies, we must combat anti-2SLGBTQI+ bias, discrimination, and violence. pic.twitter.com/oOsoK8RaK6
— Free to be me (@freetobeme_ca) October 19, 2022
England’s LGBT Foundation is excited to see what outfits and creative ideas people can come up with to show spirit. They hoped to see some bright purple clothing. One musician in particular has a lovely purple t-shirt to show off on social media. Celebrity Big Kid Johnson Ong from Singapore shared a photo on his Facebook and Instagram story. Alongside that, his Facebook post has a great mental illness and wellbeing quote from the LGBTQ merchandise company Heckin’ Unicorn.
United Nations Free & Equal has a page on their website dedicated to Spirit Day. It encourages governments to take action by repealing criminalization laws, championing diversity in government official positions, and training teachers/ school administration on how to address LGBTQ bullying. On their Twitter they posted a graphic and told viewers they hope to create a more inclusive world.
Young #LGBTIQ+ people are much more likely to experience bullying, abuse & isolation, which puts their health & well-being at risk.
On Thursday’s #SpiritDay, join UN @free_equal to help create a more inclusive world for all. https://t.co/UkQDP3hVC4 pic.twitter.com/oviWWYAdm9
— United Nations (@UN) October 20, 2022
The Veer Foundation encourages their followers to follow in the UN’s footsteps, advocating for safe school environments.
#RT @UN: Everyone who wishes to pursue their education should be able to do so without facing bullying, harassment or discrimination.
On Thursday’s #SpiritDay, join UN @free_equal in calling for inclusive education for all: #LGBTIQ+ youth included. … pic.twitter.com/71cQ7d5uQr
— Veer Foundation (@FoundationVeer) October 20, 2022
Queer BILD, a German news and media website, says Spirit Day isn’t just for the U.S.A.! The organization spoke on how many queer lives end in suicide and urges people to support the most vulnerable among us.
Sexual Minorites Uganda or SMUG also went purple for Spirit Day amid months of bans on LGBTQ organizations in the country. GLAAD is so proud they are taking a stand!
Stand up against #bullying and #cyberbullying. Go purple today. #SpiritDay pic.twitter.com/HSBrZjpLpB
— Sexual Minorities Uganda | SMUG (@SMUG2004) October 20, 2022
Trans Wellness Ontario went purple on their Facebook by sharing Schuyler Bailar’s words on anti-bullying efforts for LGBTQ youth. This encouraging post shows us all how we can emphasize the importance of loud allies and supportive family.
The International Labour Organization made an alluring short video about ending stigma and discrimination inside and outside of the workplace. The video ends with a powerful snippet about autonomy.
#LGBTIQ+ people face inequality, discrimination and violence & harassment everywhere.
On #SpiritDay, and every day, let’s end stigma and discrimination in the world of work and beyond. pic.twitter.com/D3HBvCwscf
— International Labour Organization (@ilo) October 20, 2022
The streaming platform, GagaOOLala made identical posts on their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts highlighting the similarities between their experiences growing up as queer kids and the experiences of today’s youth.
The Director of Consular Protection and Strategic Planning of Relaciones Exteriores made a video post on her personal Twitter page and on the organization’s page explaining the purpose and meaning behind Spirit Day. Then, everyone at Relaciones Exteriores wore matching lavender masks and took a big group picture, drawing on the importance of LGBTQ safe spaces.
La directora general de Protección Consular y Planeación Estratégica, @vcalva, explica el importante significado del #SpiritDay, una fecha a favor de la visibilidad y en contra del acoso por identidad de género u orientación sexual.#ZonaSegura pic.twitter.com/cz3GXwcDKC
— Relaciones Exteriores (@SRE_mx) October 19, 2022
La @SRE_mx y las representaciones de México en el se suman a la conmemoración de este día del #SpiritDay, para combatir los discursos de odio y el hostigamiento por motivo de orientación sexual o identidad de género.
¡No al acoso! ¡No a la violencia! #ZonaSegurapic.twitter.com/vRQ1A7BHcp
— Relaciones Exteriores (@SRE_mx) October 20, 2022
Israel’s A Wider Bridge made a post speaking to youth in states that have recently introduced “Don’t Say Gay” bills and laws.
On this #spiritday – and every day – we stand with LGBTQ youth against bullying, hate, and intolerance.
Whether you are a trans kid from #Texas, a queer person from #Florida, a young lesbian from #Tennessee, or a gay boy from #Arizona – we stand with you.
— A Wider Bridge (@AWiderBridge) October 20, 2022
Pride Toronto made a bold, artistic graphic to showcase Spirit Day’s mission.
Spirit Day is an annual observance that aims to create awareness for the bullying and harassment that 2SLGBTQ+ communities face. On this day people wear purple and take a stand against bullying and we encourage you to do the same.
Happy Spirit Day!#PrideToronto #SpiritDay pic.twitter.com/AK3czH3cGo
— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) October 20, 2022
The U.S. Embassy in London shared a video of President Joe Biden telling youth inspiring messages such as, “You are loved.” The embassy wants to promote acceptance for everyone, queer or not.
This #SpiritDay we stand in support of LGBTQI+ youth & promoting acceptance of all. As @POTUS said, just be you pic.twitter.com/gpRHpx14um
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) October 20, 2022
Another embassy making a purple splash is the U.S. Embassy in France. They acknowledge that bullying, harassment, and stigma keep LGBTQ youth from reaching their full potential as students and as adults.
En ce #SpiritDay , les USA expriment leur soutien aux jeunes LGBTQI+ du monde entier. Continuons tous à dénoncer l’intimidation, le harcèlement et la stigmatisation qui empêchent souvent les jeunes LGBTQI+ d’être bien dans leur peau & d’atteindre leur plein potentiel. pic.twitter.com/T3QPyclUXO
— USA en Français (@USAenFrancais) October 20, 2022
Spirit Day posts have not only been on social media sites, but on traditional newspapers, too. The Mauritius newspaper, L’Express, wrote a chilling article about a gay teen who was bullied, assaulted, and harassed in school. Homophobic students made fun of him for being too feminine.
About Spirit Day:
America is going purple for GLAAD’s Spirit Day in support of LGBTQ youth and taking a stand against bullying. GLAAD organizes hundreds of celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, tech leaders, influencers, 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 high school student Brittany McMillan, in memory of the LGBTQ youth who lost their lives to suicide. McMillian encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October — a day that came to be known as Spirit Day.
Presenting sponsors Kellogg’s, Sally Hansen and Visible with Community Sponsors NFL, Amazon Corporate Security, Kirkland & Ellis and L’Oreal/ Victor & Rolf will all participate in Spirit Day.
Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially our 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 sports teams bans, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using preferred pronouns, the means by which a student can express themselves and see others like them are increasingly being challenged. Cyberbullying is at an all time high as well. GLAAD’s 2022 Social Media Safety Index found severe harassment for LGBTQ users when compared to 2021. This anti-LGBTQ rhetoric then translates to real-life harm and has been cited as drivers of many of the nearly 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states around the country this year alone, many of which target our LGBTQ youth.
This year, Spirit Day is on October 20, 2022 and offers LGBTQ youth and their families a means of representation and existence only made possible by providing life-saving visibility for those who need it more than ever. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you’ve got their backs at glaad.org/spiritday. Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.