Today, the United Nations showed its support for LGBTQ youth by going purple on social media and participating in Spirit Day, the world’s largest anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign. Through their solidarity, the UN demonstrates that it’s paramount global leaders visibly acknowledge and uphold LGBTQ youth around the world.
The United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, in partnership with UNESCO, published a fact sheet with data about LGBTQ bullying and violence at school. Among the data presented:
- 45% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans youth report being bullied at school
- In the European Union: 44% of LGBTIQ+ youth aged 15 to 17 felt their rights were rarely or never supported at school.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa: 35%t of LGBTIQ+ youth reported never feeling safe at school
- In a worldwide study with youth from 25 countries, online bullying was widely reported by LGBTIQ+ students. High rates of online bullying were reported by LGBTIQ+ youth surveyed in China (70 per cent), Singapore (58 per cent) and India (53 per cent).
Additionally, Free & Equal took to social media to present the data as a compelling story that supports LGBTQ youth worldwide and opposes bullying and harassment in all its forms.
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
This week we celebrate #SpiritDay with @GLAAD to #GoPurple in a united stand to end bullying against #LGBTIQ+ youth of all backgrounds, races, religions, abilities, genders & sexual orientations. Learn more about what you can do in our factsheet @UNESCO https://t.co/n7JHYq30ol pic.twitter.com/Uq2UL9ZStD
— UN Free & Equal (@free_equal) October 16, 2023
Almost half of lesbian, gay, bi and trans students report being bullied at school; but together we can end bullying. Learn simple actions you can take today in our new fact sheet: https://t.co/nAh1FfC44e #SpiritDay #GoPurple @UNESCO @GLAAD pic.twitter.com/kfMmqK64vE
— UN Free & Equal (@free_equal) October 17, 2023
Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, shared on the social media X (formerly Twitter), “Anti #LGBTIQ+ bullying continues to threaten the safety & well-being of young people worldwide. We must see & accept each individual for their unique value & take concrete steps to help everyone grow & thrive, no matter who they are or whom they love.”
Anti #LGBTIQ+ bullying continues to threaten the safety & well-being of young people worldwide
We must see & accept each individual for their unique value & take concrete steps to help everyone grow & thrive, no matter who they are or whom they love#SpiritDay @free_equal @GLAAD pic.twitter.com/kHTlyBXWLE
— Volker Türk (@volker_turk) 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 was started in 2010 by 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 that came to be known as Spirit Day.
Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially 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 bans on trans youth in sports, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using correct pronouns, the means by which a student can express themselves and see others like them are increasingly being challenged.
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 on Spirit Day, visit glaad.org/spiritday and follow @GLAAD on social media to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.