By Alexandra Bolles, Associate Director, Campaigns & External Engagement
Viacom — its channels including MTV, Logo, and VH1 — and stars like Laverne Cox will show their support for LGBT youth on Spirit Day, with the help of groundbreaking advocates Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan. Viacom will be among the most active participants in GLAAD’s Spirit Day, the largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world that supports LGBT youth.
It will be hard to miss Viacom’s “spirit” on October 16. In New York City, Laverne Cox and transgender youth featured in the upcoming MTV and Logo TV documentary “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word” will light the Empire State Building purple with GLAAD, and Viacom’s electronic billboard in Times Square will display the call to end anti-LGBT bullying to millions of passersby throughout the day.
That same day, groundbreaking LGBT advocates Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan, the winning plaintiff and attorney team in the case brought federal recognition of marriage equality to the United States, will take part in MTV’s Pioneers Speakers series, to be hosted by MTV and Logo TV President Stephen Friedman.
Paramount Pictures will host an event in honor of Spirit Day at Helen Bernstein High School, at which Paramount staff will share their experiences of their youth and their lives today.MTV and Logo TV stars are getting in on the action, too. A video of MTV’s “Faking It” cast about Spirit Day debuted today with MTV Act. Check it out:
You can catch VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz” and “Gossip Table” hosts going purple on air, photos of Logo TV stars, and commercials encouraging Spirit Day participation on Logo TV that feature pictures from the New Orleans-based LGBT youth organization BreakOUT. Throughout Spirit Day, viewers can watch documentaries about coming out, marriage equality as well as MTV and Logo TV’s “It Gets Better” and “It Gets Better 2.”
MTV’s Look Different campaign to combat bias will feature Good Look panelists, who answer questions as part of the campaign’s advice column, will be going purple, as well. This is just one way that MTV and Look Different will combat anti-LGBT bias this week, which culminates in the premiere of “Laverne Cox Presents” on Friday.
On top of everything else, MTV networks, VH1, Comedy Central, and Logo TV “go purple” online and on air in a stand against bullying this Thursday, as will CMT and Tr3s social media platforms and websites. TV Land will also be participating online and on air, and Kristen Johnston of the channel’s “The Exes” filmed a video encouraging everyone to join her in going purple. The hosts of BET’s 106 & Park will be wearing purple and will discuss Spirit Day. They will also be turning the logo purple for the show.
According to GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 43.9% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 81.9% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation and 63.9% because of their gender expression.
Spirit Day, which will take place on October 16, inspires millions to wear purple or “go purple” online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its national partners PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, as well as official partners Comcast-NBCUniversal and Google, and supporting partner American Eagle Outfitters.
It’s not too late to take the Spirit Day pledge. Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against anti-LGBT bullying.