Today is Spirit Day, which is being held in conjunction with Ally Week. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) suggested wearing purple clothing today too…well, let’s just give the GLAAD’s suggested tweet for the day:
I’m wearing purple today to support LGBT youth – make your profile pic purple today for Spirit Day at http://glaad.org/spiritday
GLAAD also writes:
The idea behind Spirit Day, first created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, is a simple one, not dissimilar to the idea of “Spirit Week” held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.
Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.
Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.
As one of the event’s Facebook pages says: “This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.”
Wearing purple on October 20 is a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and a simple way to stand UP to the bullies. Remember those lives we’ve tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those who are still fighting. ‘Go Purple’ today!
Today, TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) launches the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign, an awareness project to battle suicide among transgender youth.
The Amethyst Ribbon Campaign was established as part of the Ian Benson Project. Ian was a 16-year old affirmed male who took his own life in October 2007. Ian’s mother, TYFA’s secretary/treasurer, hopes to help other children and families avoid the pain and struggles that can lead to suicide among trans youth.
“Transgender” (or the abbreviation “trans”) describes people whose gender identity or expression differs from expectations for their physical sex characteristics or sex assigned at birth. Recent estimates conclude approximately 1 in 500 people seek surgical reassignment during their lives, with many more expressing their gender in other ways. Studies suggest that among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans youth, 50% end up ideating or attempting suicide before adulthood.
TYFA President Shannon Garcia described the symbolism of the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign. “The brilliant violet color of amethyst is also a blend of the pink and blue traditionally used to designate the male/female binary. Amethyst is a precious gem, chosen to represent how precious trans children are to their families and friends.”
TYFA Executive Director Kim Pearson said, “Ian was our friend, he was the friend of our children, he was part of our hearts and the hearts of his family. To keep Ian’s memory alive, we will help other families and children by telling the stories of our children and families, to reach out to the other Ian’s of the world. We can help them and their families find the answers. In honor of Ian and all transgender people, we ask that you share this message and vision.”
TransYouth Family Advocates is a coalition of parents, friends and caring adults dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the medical and cultural challenges faced by children with gender variant and gender questioning identities and the families who love them.
To learn more about the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign, please visit the TYFA website at www.imatyfa.org or call 1-888-IMA-TYFA. The site includes information and resources for trans youth and their families.
All of our community’s children deserve our love and concern. So, I won’t just be thinking about how wearing purple sends a message today on bullying and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) youth suicide prevention, but I’ll also be thinking about amethyst ribbons today, and the specific message of those ribbons regarding transyouth suicide prevention.