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GLAAD’S 2021 SPIRIT DAY SENDS UNWAVERING MESSAGE OF SUPPORT, SOLIDARITY, AND ACCEPTANCE TO LGBTQ YOUTH AROUND THE WORLD
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
Communications Manager, GLAAD
BARBRA STREISAND, CHLOE X HALLE, HAILEE STEINFELD, SYMONE, THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, CNBC, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, THE VIEW, STERLING K. BROWN, ELVIS DURAN, FLETCHER, ISIS KING, CODY RIGSBY, QUEEN’S FROM RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, THALIA, DESPIERTA AMÉRICA, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, E! NEWS, LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN, WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN, AND MANY MORE WILL GO PURPLE FOR SPIRIT DAY
Additional participation includes Comcast NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC, iHeartMedia, LATV, Pantaya, Telemundo, Univision, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, and more
Sports leagues including the MLB, NFL, National Basketball Association & Women’s National Basketball Association are all scheduled to participate in Spirit Day
Landmarks including the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus, Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the American Eagle billboard in Times Square, the Empire State Building, NASDAQ billboard in Times Square, and the ViacomCBS Building at 1515 Broadway will go purple for Spirit Day
In honor of Spirit Day, GLAAD releases short film portraying a trans young person’s experience returning to school for the first time as their authentic self and encourages support for trans youth in the wake of ongoing attacks in sports, healthcare, education, and more
New York, NY, Thursday, October 21, 2021 – Today, GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced participants wearing purple or going purple online today for Spirit Day in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ youth. Since the inaugural Spirit Day in 2010, 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 and united show of support for LGBTQ youth. Purple symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.
For more on Spirit Day, visit www.glaad.org/spiritday or search #SpiritDay on social media. GLAAD will be sharing content from participants all day on GLAAD’s Twitter. For another year, Twitter has set up a special #SpiritDay emoji.
For journalists, a list of live links to select social media posts from celebrities and other notables will be updated throughout the day and is available here.
Select Spirit Day participation posts live as of this morning:
Good Morning America: https://twitter.com/GMA/status/1451164994876411906
Elvis Duran: https://twitter.com/elvisduran/status/1451137096194875393
Ty Herndon: https://twitter.com/TyHerndoncom/status/1451167240598994948
Nina West: https://twitter.com/NinaWest/status/1451157069554458627
United Nations: https://twitter.com/UN/status/1451036018090692608
Despierta América: https://twitter.com/despiertamerica/status/1451147433065463811
Hoy Día: https://twitter.com/hoydia/status/1451154777040199694
The Price is Right: https://twitter.com/PriceIsRight/status/1451139952583004173
US Speedskating: https://twitter.com/USSpeedskating/status/1451156772513779714
Spirit Day 2021 began last night in Atlanta during an event featuring Lil Nas X and local HIV and LGBTQ leaders. The event, hosted by legendary record producer Dallas Austin and the Gilead COMPASS Initiative, featured a choir of members of the LGBTQ community, allies, and faith leaders wearing purple Spirit Day robes as they performed songs from MONTERO. Photos here.
GLAAD previously announced that the iconic Empire State Building will go purple in honor of Spirit Day on October 21. RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone and Official Sponsor of Spirit Day Sally Hansen will participate in a ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building with GLAAD.
Celebrities set to participate in 2021 Spirit Day include Barbra Streisand, Chloe x Halle, Hailee Steinfeld, Sterling K. Brown, Andy Cohen, Elvis Duran, FLETCHER, Isis King, Cody Rigsby, Natti Natasha, Thalia, Ryan Michelle Bathé, Michael Judson Berry, Michael Bolton, Bob The Drag Queen, Kent Boyd, Precious Brady-Davis, Crystal Lee Brown, Aria Brooks, Dan Bucatinsky, Tina Burner, Saffron Burrows, Ever Carradine, Fernando Carsa, Jason Carter, Philemon Chambers, Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman, Malia Civetz, Garrett Clayton, Jason Collins, the Coyle Twins, Scott Evan Davis, Jasmine Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Heather Dubrow, Lisa Durupt, Elliott with 2 T’s, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Gabriel Feitosa, August Getty, Good Trouble’s Zuri Adele, Josh Pence, Priscilla Quintana, and Cierra Ramirez, Christopher Gorham, Gottmik, Harper Grae, Kat Graham, Kahmora Hall, Tamron Hall, Rachael Harris, Ty Herndon, Blair Imani, Kathy Ireland, Jeka Jane, Jordy, Amrit Kapai, Natacha Karam, Stella Keating, Victoria Konefal, Carson Kressley, Matty Maggiacomo, Kevin Mambo, Meredith Marks, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Meacham, Michael & Matt, MK xyz, Kron Moore, Jessica Morris, Motherland: Fort Salem’s Taylor Hickson, Demetria McKinney, and Jessica Sutton, Frank Mugisha, Kandy Muse, Mya, Amber Nash, Annika Noelle, Eureka O’Hara, DJ Big Kid Johnson Ong, Wendy Osefo, Misha Osherovich, Emily Osment, Maite Perroni, Planningtorock, Dra. Ana María Polo, Olivia Ponton, Carrie Preston, Colleen Quigley, Miki Ratsula, Michael Ray, Miss Lala Ri, Maggie Rose, Ravi Roth, Latrice Royale, Allison Russell, Enrique Santos, Abigail Savage, Calum Scott, Shangela, J.J. Soria, Marsha Thomason Sykes, Amanda Troop, Garfield Wilson, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Wrabel, Jaime Wyatt, Gregory Zarian, and Amelie Zilber.
Several studios, networks, shows, streaming services, landmarks, sports leagues, organizations, and more are also confirmed to take part in the world’s largest and most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign:
- Anchors and correspondents across NBCUniversal News Group — which includes NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC News NOW — will be wearing purple on Spirit Day. CNBC’s logo will also go purple on-air and online in honor of the anti-bullying campaign.
- Several Disney | ABC shows will participate in Spirit Day, including ABC News Live, Good Morning America, GMA3: What You Need to Know, The View, and Live with Kelly and Ryan. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir will also feature Spirit Day within its ‘America Strong’ segment. Jordan Buhat and Trevor Jackson from Freeform’s grown-ish, Zuri Adele, Josh Pence, Priscilla Quintana, and Cierra Ramirez from Freeform’s Good Trouble, and Taylor Hickson, Demetria McKinney, and Jessica Sutton from Motherland: Fort Salem will also take part in Spirit Day.
- The casts of various ViacomCBS shows will be participating in Spirit Day, including B Positive, Bob Hearts Abishola, FBI, FBI: International, FBI: Most Wanted, Ghosts, Magnum P.I., NCIS, NCIS: Hawai’i, NCIS: Los Angeles, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. ViacomCBS brands including Comedy Central, CMT, Logo, MTV, Paramount Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, TV Land, and VH1 will also participate.
- For another year, WarnerMedia will be activating several of their brands for Spirit Day.
- For a fifth consecutive year, iHeartMedia will participate in Spirit Day by airing PSAs across its broadcast radio stations and posting on its social media channels to encourage fans and listeners to go purple and stand in support of LGBTQ youth.
- Comcast NBCUniversal and several of its brands will also participate in Spirit Day on October 21. The casts of NBC shows including American Auto, Annie Live!, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D, Chicago Fire, Mr. Mayor, New Amsterdam, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and This is Us are also set to participate.
- On-air talent across E! Daily Pop, E! News, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight, People TV, The Q Agenda, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen will all go purple for Spirit Day and recognize the campaign during their broadcasts.
- Spanish-language networks, shows, and streaming services set to participate in Spirit Day include Despierta América, El Gordo y la Flaca, Hoy Día, LATV, Pantaya, Primer Impacto, Telemundo, and Univision.
- Sports leagues including the MLB, NFL, and National Basketball Association & Women’s National Basketball Association will take part in the anti-bullying campaign.
- Landmarks including the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus, Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the American Eagle billboard in Times Square, the Empire State Building, NASDAQ billboard in Times Square, and the ViacomCBS Building at 1515 Broadway will go purple for Spirit Day.
- Organizations including DiversityLab in Italy, the Equality Project in Australia, National Black Justice Coalition, NYC Pride, PFLAG, Trevor Project, Transgender Law Center, and the UN Free & Equal campaign will be participating in the world’s largest LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign. Leading faith organizations and denominations including the Naming Project, Parity, and The United Church of Christ will also participate.
GLAAD also released a new short film in honor of Spirit Day, which portrays a trans young person’s experience returning to school for the first time as their authentic self. Watch the video here.
In the video, the main character, Jake, walks through school recounting many things that have changed over the summer since they were last at school. The video concludes with Jake walking into a classroom, stating: “As for me, I’m about to introduce myself as Jake for the very first time. And now, everyone can see the real me, finally.” The video sends a powerful message of support to trans youth during a year when an unprecedented number of anti-trans bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the U.S., many targeting trans and nonbinary youth in sports, healthcare, and education. On October 17, the Texas Senate passed a new bill barring transgender children, kindergarten through 12th grade, from participating in school sports on teams consistent with their gender identity. If signed by the Governor, this would make Texas the 10th U.S. state to unfairly restrict access to school sports for transgender youth.
This year, presenting sponsors Target, Visible, and Wells Fargo, official sponsors NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Porsche Cars North America Inc., Sally Hansen, and Mars Wrigley’s SKITTLES, and community sponsors Amazon, Kellogg Company, Kirkland & Ellis, National Basketball Association & Women’s National Basketball Association, NFL, Nike, and Shutterfly will all participate in the anti-bullying campaign on October 21.
This year, GLAAD launched a video campaign on social media calling on LGBTQ people to share the first time they saw themselves positively reflected in the media. The campaign is centered on highlighting the life-saving impact that positive media representation can have on LGBTQ youth. Participants are encouraged to share their stories on all social media platforms on Spirit Day on October 21. Use the hashtag #SpiritDay and tag @GLAAD on your posts.
GLAAD previously announced the kick off of 2021 Spirit Day with the auction of the iconic Syro Rancho Platform Shoes worn by comedian and Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang to the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards in benefit of the organization’s LGBTQ advocacy work.
In 2019, GLAAD released a LGBTQ-inclusive children’s book titled, Spirit Day: A Book About Spreading Joy. In partnership with Little Bee Books, Spirit Day: A Book About Spreading Joy was the sixth book to be released in an ongoing series of LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books. Illustrated by Joy Yang, Spirit Day: A Book About Spreading Joy is a beautiful, bold board book that teaches children about Spirit Day and its mission to stop bullying. Spirit Day: A Book About Spreading Joy can be purchased on Amazon, Bookshop.com, Barnes & Noble, and at various in-store locations.
Previous Spirit Day participants include the Obama White House, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Sec. Hillary Clinton, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, Laverne Cox, Celine Dion, Shaquille O’Neal, Sam Smith, Jimmy Kimmel, Troye Sivan, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA and WNBA, all Major League Baseball teams, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the Las Vegas Strip, and many more.
To see GLAAD’s list of 2020 Spirit Day participants including celebrities, media, athletes, and landmarks, click here.
Coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month, Spirit Day began in 2010 when then high school student Brittany McMillan created a Tumblr post asking students to wear purple following the suicide deaths of several LGBTQ and LGBTQ-perceived young people.
According to GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, 70.1% of LGBTQ students report being verbally harassed. Additionally, 59.5% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 44.6% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 87.3% of LGBTQ students experienced harassment or assault based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender expression, gender, religion, actual or perceived race and ethnicity, and actual or perceived disability.
The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity. A 2021 national survey by The Trevor Project also shows “the majority of LGBT youth (52%) who were enrolled in middle or high school report being bullied either in person or electronically in the past year.”
A 2020 study released by the Trevor Project, titled “All Black Lives Matter: Mental Health of Black LGBTQ Youth,” found that 44% of Black LGBTQ youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past 12 months, including 59% of Black transgender and nonbinary youth and half of all Black LGBTQ youth ages 13-17 years old. The study also found that Black LGBTQ youth who had high levels of family support had nearly 3 times lower rates of suicide attempts in the past 12 months. However, less than 1 in 3 Black LGBTQ youth actually reported having high levels of family support.
Spirit Day takes on a renewed importance due to the unprecedented challenges facing LGBTQ youth today. Over the last year and a half, many LGBTQ youth have not been in school, unable to attend in-person meetings of Gay-Straight Alliances, Gender-Sexuality Alliances or on-campus colleges LGBTQ organizations. During this time, LGBTQ youth have also become increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of cyberbullying, specifically with heightened levels of anti-LGBTQ hate and harassment on social media. Some LGBTQ youth may be confined to a home environment that may be unsupportive or abusive. Calls to The Trevor Project’s hotline for LGBTQ youth have at times more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
For more information on Spirit Day, visit glaad.org/spiritday.
About GLAAD: 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.
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