By Kleio Kartalis, GLAAD Youth Engagement Coordinator
This year, GLAAD is partnering with iHeartRadio to raise awareness for Spirit Day, the world’s largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign for LGBTQ+ youth. On October 17, 2019, iHeartRadio will join millions of Americans and people around the world by “going purple” on Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. Pledging to "go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — companies, global leaders, celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly stand in solidarity with LGBTQ youth.
GLAAD’s Spirit Day started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan in response to numerous young LGBTQ lives lost to suicide. According to GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey, LGBTQ students experience bullying at a significantly higher rate than their non-LGBTQ peers. The survey reveals several worrying trends regarding the treatment of queer and transgender students in schools. For example, a reported 59.5% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 44.6% of students feel unsafe because of their gender expression.
Coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month, Spirit Day draws participation from celebrities, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, and advocates around the world, all joining together to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ youth. Previous notable participants include morning talk shows like Good Morning America, The Today Show and The View; celebrities such as Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey, Halsey, Laverne Cox and Ricky Martin; media outlets including MTV, HBO and E!; corporations such as Facebook, Coca-Cola Company and Disney; and national landmarks like Times Square, the Empire State Building and the New York Stock Exchange.
Leading to Spirit Day, iHeartMedia ran a PSA voiced by on-air personality Elvis Duran across its AC and CHR stations that encourage listeners to ‘go purple’ and take the Spirit Day pledge to unite against the bullying of LGBTQ youth of all backgrounds. In addition, various iHeartRadio on-air personalities will talk on-air throughout the day about the importance of Spirit Day.
Join the movement to end bullying by visiting the GLAAD Spirit Day website today to take the pledge and learn more about how you and your community can support LGBTQ youth.