Today, GLAAD announced the official countdown to 2020 Spirit Day, which will take place on Thursday, October 15.
On Spirit Day – the world’s largest and most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign – millions of people around the world will wear purple or go purple online in a unified stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals.
For more information visit glaad.org/spiritday and follow #SpiritDay.
This year, presenting partners Delta Air Lines, Kellogg’s, and Target, official partners Amazon, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City Council, and Skittles, as well as community partners Kirkland & Ellis, the National Basketball Association (NBA) & the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) will all participate in the anti-bullying campaign.
GLAAD announced a preliminary list of celebrities set to participate in Spirit Day on October 15, including Cher, The Chicks, Halle Berry, Amy Allen, Elizabeth Berkley, Connie Britton, Megan Boone, Sterling K. Brown, Jiggly Caliente, Jackie Cox, Miz Cracker, Kat Cunning, Ted Danson, Daughtry, Ariana DeBose, Nicky Doll, Lisa Edelstein, Brita Filter, Gigi Gorgeous Getty, Carlie Hanson, Megan Hilty, Juan Pablo Jaramillo, Jazz Jennings, Ken Jeong, JoJo, Jujubee, Padma Lakshmi, Jason Lewis, Maggie Lindemann, Nicole Maines, MAX, Ava Max, Shane McAnally, Bethany C. Meyers, Ben O’Keefe, Peppermint, Calle y Poché, Michael Ray, LeAnn Rimes, Adam Rippon, AnnaSophia Robb, Frankie Rodriguez, Vincent Rodriguez III, Tegan & Sara, Scott Turner Schofield, Mario Selman, D.J. “Shangela” Pierce, Johnny Sibilly, Dahlia Sin, SOKO, Speelburg, Brandon Stansell, Patrick Starrr, Mary Steenburgen, Nico Tortorella, Trinity The Tuck, and Nina West.
GLAAD also announced that AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas, the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus, the ViacomCBS Building at 1515 Broadway, the CBS Broadcast Center, the M&M’s Times Square Jumbotron, and the Reuters, NASDAQ, and American Eagle billboards in Times Square will all go purple for Spirit Day. SKITTLES and MARS Inc. are also working with GLAAD to include Spirit Day messaging on the M&M’s New York Jumbotron at the Times Square (Broadway & 7th Ave) location on October 15.
GLAAD also released a new 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.
Several studios, networks, and streaming services are also confirmed to take part in the world’s largest and most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign:
- Disney | ABC Television will run PSAs across their networks for Spirit Day, which coincides with its October “Choose Kindness” campaign.
- For the 4th year, Hulu will produce a carousel of LGBTQ-inclusive titles, curated by GLAAD, that will run on the service from October 12-15.
- For a fourth 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.
- Sony Pictures has confirmed participation from their upcoming LGBTQ-inclusive films THE CRAFT: LEGACY and HAPPIEST SEASON.
- For the first year, Spotify will be participating in Spirit Day by encouraging artists to participate in “My Spirit Day Soundtrack,” which asks them to share the songs that embody the messages of Spirit Day for them on their social accounts.
- For another year, WarnerMedia will be activating several of their brands and show casts.
- The casts of various CBS shows will be participating in Spirit Day, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show with James Corden, NCIS, NCIS LA, NCIS New Orleans, FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Talk, Mom, Bob Hearts Abishola, Magnum P.I., MacGyver, All Rise, Unicorn, SEAL Team, The Neighborhood, B Positive, SWAT, and Blue Bloods.
- Entertainment news programs including Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and Extra are set to participate on-air again for Spirit Day this year.
“From the effects of COVID-19, to the social uprising against racial injustice and police brutality, to the Trump administration’s consistent attacks on LGBTQ people, this year has presented unprecedented challenges and crises, all of which continue to uniquely and disproportionately impact LGBTQ youth,” says GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “At a time when LGBTQ youth may be isolating in homes that are not affirming or do not have access to their usual support systems, this year’s Spirit Day is a chance for LGBTQ people and allies to send messages of acceptance and support to LGBTQ youth when they need it most.”
Previous Spirit Day participants include the Obama White House, Vice President Joe Biden, the Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Laverne Cox, Shaquille O’Neal, 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, tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more.
In 2019, #SpiritDay sparked over 150 unique press stories with over 1.1 billion media impressions, and 60k+ unique social mentions across platforms, earning over 1.7 billion social media impressions. To see GLAAD’s list of 2019 Spirit Day participants including celebrity, 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. The Survey also found that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide. A new study released by the Trevor Project on October 6, 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.
In 2020, Spirit Day takes on a renewed importance due to the unprecedented challenges facing LGBTQ youth. This year, many LGBTQ youth are beginning the school year at home and are unable to attend in-person meetings of Gay-Straight Alliances, Gender-Sexuality Alliances or on-campus college LGBTQ organizations. 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.