By Kate Donnelly
On October 19th, New York City was transformed into the heart and soul of #Spirit Day – the world’s largest anti-bullying campaign. Love and support from The City So Nice, They Named It Twice was perfectly timed for LGBTQ kids 41% more at risk of attempting suicide than their non-LGBTQ peers. For them – and for teachers, parents, and the 7 in 10 people eager to be allies – the message was loud and clear: Wherever you are, New York City has your back.
Iconic Gotham landmarks and institutions shone with support, as the Empire State Building literally glowed with #SpiritDay’s signature color purple, thanks to help from actress and activist Laverne Cox, local nonprofit Gotham Cheer, and several GLAAD board members. The New York City-based United Nations used its global platform to educate the world about #SpiritDay. Locally-grown businesses also did their part, like publisher Little Bee Books which encouraged readers to learn more about bullying with its #SpiritDay children’s book.
— Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) October 18, 2023
Today is #SpiritDay! No student should fear going to school. #GoPurple if you agree that classrooms should be places free from bullying where ALL young people can be their best selves, regardless of who they are or whom they love! #LGBTIQ+ @glaad pic.twitter.com/QR0yVAhUVz
— UN Free & Equal (@free_equal) October 19, 2023
Join us in celebrating @GLAAD‘s national awareness day to support LGBTQ youth by picking up a copy of #SpiritDay, illustrated by @artofjyang. In this beautifully colored book, children will learn all about Spirit Day and its mission to stop bullying! #BeeAReader🐝 pic.twitter.com/GUEjKUz5uD
— little bee books (@littlebeebooks) October 19, 2023
Broadway shows sang out, including a purple-themed DJ celebration hosted by “Here Lies Love.” Other shows participating included “Chicago” and the entire cast of “Six,” who encouraged audiences to “inspire LGBTQ+ youth to live their lives fully and authentically.”
Today we celebrate @glaad #SpiritDay! #SpiritDay is the world’s most visible anti-bullying movement inspiring LGBTQ youth, especially transgender and nonbinary youth to live their lives in their truth and authenticity.
— Chicago The Musical (@ChicagoMusical) October 19, 2023
Tomorrow is #SpiritDay We stand with @GLAAD to take the pledge to go purple to stand up against bullying and inspire LGBTQ+ youth to live the their lives fully and authentically. Head to https://t.co/ChJZt6XHNT to join the movement and take the Spirit Day Pledge #SIXBroadway pic.twitter.com/yZomT75JL5
— SIX The Musical on Broadway (@SixBroadway) October 18, 2023
Legendary New York sports teams and icons that made Spirit Day a win included Good Morning Football hosts, the headquarters of Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees, and the New York Mets telling fans that “today and every day we are proud of LGBTQ youth.”
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 19, 2023
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 19, 2023
Purple suits us. Today and every day, we take a stand to support LGBTQ youth and guard against bullying. No one should be bullied or called names simply for being who they are. That’s why we are wearing purple for #SpiritDay today. pic.twitter.com/O4McTzgLes
— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2023
New York City and State nonprofits and educational organizations raised awareness, too – from Out Syracuse, Advocates for Children New York, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to the New York State Education Department. The Columbia School of Journalism encouraged future journalists to share accurate information about LGBTQ youth bullying. And after a GLAAD Media Institute challenge, City University of New York (CUNY) participation exploded across departments, including from its LGBTQ+ Student Center.
Today is @glaad’s #SpiritDay! AFC is going purple to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ+ students of all backgrounds, races, religions, abilities, gender identities ans sexual orientations pic.twitter.com/tv5humbx9A
— Advocates for Children of New York (@AFCNewYork) October 19, 2023
This Spirit Day, we’re reminding LGBTQ+ youth everywhere that they are supported, they are affirmed and they are loved. Be sure to support the queer youth in your life today and every day! pic.twitter.com/dlpUt8YMUr
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) October 19, 2023
— NYS Education Department (@NYSEDNews) October 19, 2023
CJS is going purple in honor of @glaad #SpiritDay. Two-thirds of #LGBTQ youth have experienced discrimination in the past year — and they need support now more than ever. Grab some purple swag from the Spirit Day table in Pulitzer Hall, and take a stand to #StopBullying! pic.twitter.com/EYRu0nQxGP
— Columbia Journalism (@columbiajourn) October 19, 2023
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GLAAD’s partnership with The New York Department of Education and The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival (Newfest) also gave 300 LGBTQ youth from public schools the chance to see their own short films and stories on the big screen.
Never to be missed, New York-based TV shows, hosts, and journalists joined the conversation, including The View, The Talk, and The Late Show, as well as MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. All day, ABC7New York hosts and reporters celebrated LGBTQ youth in their newscasts and told viewers, “If you noticed a bit more purple walking around on Thursday, it’s not a coincidence.” The local network also put actress and journalist Eva Reign in the spotlight to give a voice to the transgender community. And NY Capitol Reporter Liz Benjamin shared a reflection on her morning news roundup “Rise & Shine”.
— The View (@TheView) October 19, 2023
— The Talk (@TheTalkCBS) October 19, 2023
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— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) October 19, 2023
Finally, New York legislators said it all by centering the Day’s critical conversations on LGBTQ youth – from Attorney General, Leticia James and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, to the New York City Council and Council Members Erik Botcher and Crystal Hudson. In fact, New York City Council Speaker, Adrienne Adams, summarized the City’s commitment perfectly, when she tweeted, “We stand with you today and always.”
We stand in support of LGBTQ+ youth and against bullying!
Every day as we go about our work, we aim to embody the spirit of inclusion, equity, and justice—so all New Yorkers can be authentically themselves, in community with each other.#BullyingPreventionMonth #SpiritDay pic.twitter.com/mqjRjm41qM
— Office of the Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams (@nycpa) October 19, 2023
— New York City Council (@NYCCouncil) October 19, 2023
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Support our #LGBTQ+ youth.
Reject bullying and intolerance of every kind.
Be kind and uplift all of our beautiful and diverse communities.#SpiritDay
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) October 19, 2023
— Erik Bottcher (@ebottcher) October 19, 2023
Today, we are wearing purple to spread awareness about the bullying and harassment faced by LGBTQIA+ youth.
— Adrienne Adams (@NYCSpeakerAdams) October 19, 2023
Each year, GLAAD organizes celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, faith groups, school districts, organizations, colleges and universities in what has become the most visible anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign in the world. Purple also symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. The annual tradition began in 2010, with GLAAD and then high school student Brittany McMillan, in memory of the LGBTQ youth who died by suicide. McMillan encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October — a day now known as Spirit Day.
Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially trans and nonbinary youth, are experiencing stressors beyond peer-to-peer bullying of the past, from book bans, to bans on trans youth in sports, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using correct pronouns. In fact, GLAAD’s 2023 Social Media Safety Index found severe harassment for LGBTQ users when compared to 2022 and found that all five major social media platforms continue to fail on LGBTQ safety. This anti-LGBTQ rhetoric then translates to real-life harm and has been cited as drivers of many of the more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states around the country this year alone, many of which target our LGBTQ youth.
For more information, visit glaad.org/spiritday and follow @GLAAD on social media to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.