General News

Reflecting on Spirit Day 2020

Rachel Badham October 17, 2020

Thursday 15 October saw thousands of social media users and numerous famous figures promote and demonstrate their support for Spirit Day 2020; an international LGBTQ+ awareness day with the aim of tackling bullying and harassment. 2020 marks the 10th annual Spirit Day after it was created by Canadian teen Brittany McMillian in 2010 as a response to the high number of LGBTQ+ student suicides that year, including the death of Tyler Clementi whose suicide made international headlines. The day is promoted by LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD who encourage people and companies to ‘go purple’ to demonstrate their solidarity with young queer people and discourage discrimination.

According to GLAAD, over 70% of LGBTQ+ students have experienced harassment, and over half did not report bullying because they doubted they would receive help, so it encourages as many as possible to take a ‘united stand’ against bullying. Many took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the day, including a handful of celebrities and public figures.

Democrat vice president candidate Kamala Harris wrote words of support for LGBTQ+ youth, tweeting: “know that you deserve to be accepted and loved just as you are”.

Openly gay Star Trek actor Wilson Cruz wished his followers a happy Spirit Day and wrote: “We LOVE you. We SEE you and you’re PERFECT, just as you were made.”

Hilary Clinton tweeted that she ‘stands with’ the LGBTQ+ community on Spirit Day but also all year round.

American singer and actor Reba McEntire encouraged her followers to ‘go purple’ with her to discourage bullying and promote LGBTQ+ acceptance.

Celine Dion, the best-selling Canadian recording artist in history, posted a photo of herself and her children and wrote: “I encourage all of you to join us and take a stand against anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.”

Queer actor Clea DuVall, known for her roles in The Faculty and Girl, Interrupted, wrote: “To LGBTQ+ youth, I know how lonely and scary each day can be, but know this: You are not alone. We see you and we stand with you.”