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OCTOBER 21: SPIRIT DAY REACHES LGBTQ YOUTH AROUND THE WORLD WITH MESSAGES OF SUPPORT AND ACCEPTANCE
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
Communications Manager, GLAAD
VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS, BARBRA STREISAND, CELINE DION, LAVERNE COX, CHLOE X HALLE, JAKE GYLENHAAL, DREW BARRYMORE, THE WHITE HOUSE’S JEN PSAKI AND KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, STERLING K. BROWN, BILLIE JEAN KING, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, RYAN SEACREST, KELLY RIPA, JONAS BROTHERS, ANDY COHEN, DON LEMON, MAROON 5, IDINA MENZEL, ZOOEY DESCHANEL, ELVIS DURAN, TREVOR NOAH, PEPPERMINT, THALIA, ISIS KING, THE CAST OF HBO’S WE’RE HERE, AND MANY MORE SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR LGBTQ YOUTH
THE ICONIC EMPIRE STATE BUILDING GOES PURPLE FOR SPIRIT DAY WITH RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE WINNER SYMONE AND SALLY HANSEN
Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, ABC World News Tonight With David Muir, GMA3: What You Need to Know, The View, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, The Drew Barrymore Show, Live with Kelly & Ryan, Despierta América, The Talk, NBC News, MSNBC, CBS Mornings, MLB Network, NFL Network, MTV, VH1, Entertainment Tonight, and People TV hosts recognize Spirit Day on-air
Sports leagues including all 30 Major League Baseball teams, the NBA & WNBA, and the NFL also went purple on social media
Disney/ABC, Comcast NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, Freeform, Twitter, TikTok, iHeartMedia, Spotify, Apple Music, Telemundo, Univision, Pantaya, NPR, Adweek, Billboard, Teen Vogue, The Advocate, Out, Logo, Queerty, INTO, and LGBTQ Nation among media participants
Global brands who participated in 2021 Spirit Day include Target, Visible, Wells Fargo, Porsche Cars North America Inc., Sally Hansen, Mars Wrigley’s SKITTLES, Amazon, Kellogg Company, Kirkland & Ellis, Nike, Shutterfly, BCW Global, Dow, Jeep, Universal Music Group, and more
Other landmarks that went purple for Spirit Day include the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus, Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the American Eagle store in Times Square, NASDAQ billboard in Times Square, and the ViacomCBS Building at 1515 Broadway.
New York, NY, Friday, October 22, 2021 – GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, yesterday celebrated Spirit Day, when participants around the world wear purple or go purple online in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ young people. 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. Purple symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.
For journalists, a list of live links to select social media posts from celebrities and other notables is available here.
For more on Spirit Day, visit www.glaad.org/spiritday or search #SpiritDay on social media. GLAAD shared content from participants all day yesterday on GLAAD’s Twitter. Twitter also created a #SpiritDay emoji. 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 all participated in the anti-bullying campaign.
The iconic Empire State Building went purple in honor of Spirit Day yesterday. RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone and Official Sponsor of Spirit Day Sally Hansen participated in a ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building with GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Photos from the lighting can be found here.
During a press briefing yesterday, out White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recognized Spirit Day on behalf of the White House and discussed the power of the campaign: “A younger staffer recently told me that in high school he noticed how many people wore purple on Spirit Day and how much that meant to him as a young closeted teen. I could only hope that young people who might be watching or see clips of this briefing will know that they are supported and represented in the highest levels of government today. So today I join people around the world in wearing purple to show solidarity with victims of domestic violence and with lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, and intersex youth. Our administration stands with you, we support you, and we love you.”
Spirit Day 2021 began Wednesday 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.
A non-comprehensive list of #SpiritDay participants follows:
Celebrities and other notables including: Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Laverne Cox, Jake Gylenhaal, Chloe x Halle, Don Lemon, Robin Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Zooey Deschanel, Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Ripa, Jonas Brothers, Maroon 5, Idina Menzel, Sterling K. Brown, Trevor Noah, Andy Cohen, Ellen DeGeneres, Chasten Buttigieg, Mayim Bialik, James Corden, Elvis Duran, Symone, Billie Jean King, OneRepublic, Hayley Kiyoko, Meghan Trainor, Wilmer Valderrama, Mickey Guyton, Peppermint, Isis King, Cody Rigsby, Kristin Cavallari, Nick Lachey, Natti Natasha, Nicole Maines, Michael Bolton, Leslie Jordan, Ted Danson, FLETCHER, Thalia, Ty Herndon, Mel C, Loni Love, Amber Ruffin, Ross Mathews, Justin Tranter, Shea Diamond, and cast of HBO’s We’re Here: Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka O’Hara.
Elected officials, politicians, and members of the Biden Administration included: Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Senior Associate Communications Director Matt Hill, White House Senior Adviser on LGBTQ Issues Reggie Greer, White House Deputy Director of Office of Presidential Personnel Gautam Raghavan, The Democratic National Committee, The LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Lexington Mayor Linda Gordon, Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris, Rep. Steven Horsford, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Mike Quigley, Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, Rep. Mark Takano, Illinois State Rep. Ann Williams, among others.
Additional celebrities, advocates, and notables included: Cheyenne Jackson, Meredith Marks, Heather Dubrow, Cody Alan, Kathy Ireland, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Ana Gasteyer, Jason Winston George, Anthony Bowens, Kat Graham, Gottmik, Nina West, Kandy Muse, Latrice Royale, Tina Burner, LaLa Ri, Kahmora Hall, Juan Pablo di Pace, Billy Bean, Calum Scott, Blair Imani, Jorja Fox, Daniel Franzese, August Getty, Dr. Wendy Osefo, Shar Jackson, Teletubbies, Eileen Davidson, Dawn Ennis, Kay Angrum, Kaylee Bryant, Emily Osment, Wayne Brady, Harper Grae, Bishop Megan Rohrer, Peyton Kennedy, Vella Lovell, Bright Light Bright Light, Maureen McCormick, Eugene Scott, Marti Cummings, Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman, Malia Civetz, Garrett Clayton, Jason Collins, the Coyle Twins, Ana Maria Polo, Marsha Thomason Sykes, James Martin SJ, Steven Romo, Stella Keating, Mya, Amber Nash, Carrie Preston, Desmond is Amazing, Enrique Santos, Jaime Wyatt, Wrabel, Katrina Law, Thorsten Kaye, Abbey Cone, Bobby Moynihan, Ryan Michelle Bathé, Michael Judson Berry, Kent Boyd, Precious Brady-Davis, Crystal Lee Brown, Aria Brooks, Dan Bucatinsky, Saffron Burrows, Nia Vardalos, Conor McDermott-Mostowy, Ever Carradine, Fernando Carsa, Philemon Chambers, Scott Evan Davis, Phil Keoghan, Scott Turner Schofield, Jasmine Davis, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Lisa Durupt, Elliott with 2 T’s, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Gabriel Feitosa, Christopher Gorham, Jai Rodriguez, Seth Rudetsky, Rachael Harris, Jeka Jane, Jordy, Jake Dupree, Amrit Kapai, Natacha Karam, Josh Sabarra, Ryan Eggold, Victoria Konefal, Matty Maggiacomo, Kevin Mambo, James Wallington, Will Jardell, Jeff Meacham, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Michael & Matt, MK xyz, Kron Moore, Jessica Morris, Frank Mugisha, Annika Noelle, DJ Big Kid Johnson Ong, Misha Osherovich, Maite Perroni, Planningtorock, Jackson Bird, Jeffrey Masters, Olivia Ponton, Colleen Quigley, Miki Ratsula, Michael Ray, Maggie Rose, Ravi Roth, Amazin LêThi, Allison Russell, Abigail Savage, J.J. Soria, Amanda Troop, Garfield Wilson, Gregory Zarian, among others.
TV show participation including: This is Us, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Amazing Race, The Price is Right, grown-ish, Good Trouble, Motherland: Fort Salem, B Positive, Bob Hearts Abishola, FBI, FBI: International, FBI: Most Wanted, Ghosts, Magnum P.I., NCIS, NCIS: Hawai’i, NCIS: Los Angeles, American Auto, Annie Live!, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D, Chicago Fire, Mr. Mayor, New Amsterdam, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Station 19, Ghostbusters, The Resident, Call Me Kat, The Big Leap, Young & Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Neighborhood, Harley Quinn, and We’re Here.
On-air hosts of: Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, ABC World News Tonight With David Muir, GMA3: What You Need to Know, The View, The Talk, The Drew Barrymore Show, Live with Kelly & Ryan, Despierta América, NBC News, MSNBC, NBC News NOW, CBS Mornings, MLB Network, NFL Network, Good Morning Football, CBS New York, Entertainment Tonight, People TV, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The News with Shepard Smith, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, E! Daily Pop, Hoy Día, Primer Impacto, El Gordo y la Flaca, The Q Agenda, LATV, and ET Canada.
Networks, studios, streaming services, and social networking platforms including: Disney/ABC, Comcast NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, Freeform, Twitter, TikTok, iHeartMedia, Spotify, Apple Music, Telemundo, Univision, and Pantaya.
On-air logos on: CNBC, MTV, Logo, and VH1.
Sports leagues and organizations including: All 30 Major League Baseball teams, the NBA & WNBA, the NFL, and US Speedskating.
Media outlets including: NPR, USA Today, NBCNews.com, ABCNews.com, Adweek, Billboard, Teen Vogue, iHeartRadio.com, Yahoo! Life, CBS New York, The San Francisco Chronicle, Uproxx, NFL.com, MLB.com, CNBC.com, ET Canada, HOLA!, Blavity, The Advocate, Out, Logo, Los Angeles Blade, LGBTQ Nation, We Are Channel Q, POZ.com, PinkNews, Telemundo 40, Queerty, INTO, The Counter Narrative Project (CNP), The Randy Report, and Outtakes Voices.
Landmarks including: The Empire State Building, the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus, Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the American Eagle store in Times Square, NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square, and the ViacomCBS Building at 1515 Broadway.
Brands and corporations including: Target, Visible, Wells Fargo, Porsche Cars North America Inc., Sally Hansen, Mars Wrigley’s SKITTLES, Amazon, Kellogg Company, Kirkland & Ellis, Nike, and Shutterfly, who were sponsors of Spirit Day. Participants also included ADP, BCW Global, Dow, Jeep, OKCupid, RENEWPR, Urban Decay, Universal Music Group, Virgin Music, and VMLY&R.
Organizations and nonprofits including: The United Nations, The Ariadne Getty Foundation, New York State Education Department, National Black Justice Coalition, NYC Pride, PFLAG, Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, Gill Foundation, LGBT Foundation, Lambda Legal, Athlete Ally, The Ally Coalition, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Point Foundation, Phluid Project, Free Mom Hugs, Out & Equal, Bi Resource Center, Highest Hope Foundation, Lesbians Who Tech, National Black Coalition On The Move, Human by Orientation, Georgia Equality, DiversityLab in Italy, the Equality Project in Australia, Mazzoni Center, You Can Play, Equality Texas, SF LGBT Center, PFLAG Columbus, Greater Boston PFLAG, Planned Parenthood of Southern Florida, YMCA North Westchester, Just Fund KY, People’s Pride Southhampton, Change is Fetch, Bienestar, YMCA Hampshire, Pride Nook, PFLAG Fishers, Fundacion, Sergio Urrego, ADIL, Aguilas Multicolores in Uruguay, Todo Mejora Chile, Todo Mejora Mexico, Yaaj, New Reach CT, York Hills Centre, Face To Face AIDS Network – Sonoma County, Maine Health Equity, YMCA Spears, Papermill Playhouse, HRC South Florida, YMCA Fanwood-Scotch Plains, Alpha Community Services (YMCA Central Connecticut), and Free2Luv.
For journalists, a list of live links to select social media posts from celebrities and other notables is available here.
GLAAD released a 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, 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 shared their stories across social media platforms on Spirit Day on October 21. Several appeared on TikTok’s discover page.
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.
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.
For GLAAD Media Institute Alum Kevin Anderson, interviews with journalists have become increasingly prevalent in…