Join GLAAD’s Spirit Day Movement Today In Support And Acceptance To LGBTQ Youth At A Time When They Need It Most
By Spencer Harvey, GLAAD’s Communications & Campaigns Coordinator
For another year, iHeartRadio is partnering with GLAAD for Spirit Day, the world’s largest and most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign. Today iHeartRadio will join millions worldwide by “going purple” on Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. Over the past 10 years, Spirit Day has become a powerful day of action where everyone — from companies, global leaders, celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — can join together in sending a loud and united message of acceptance and support to LGBTQ youth everywhere.
High school student Brittany McMillan founded Spirit Day in 2010 in response to the alarming number of young LGBTQ lives lost to suicide—notably, the loss of Tyler Clementi. McMillan wanted to create a day of awareness, acceptance, and love to prevent such tragedies. With GLAAD’s help, millions of teachers, workplaces, media personalities, and students wore purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag, to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ youth.
Today, LGBTQ youth are still disproportionately affected by bullying. According to GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, 70.1% of LGBTQ students have reported being verbally harassed at school. Additionally, 59.5% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 44.6% because of their gender expression. Recent reports from The Trevor Project have also highlighted concerning statistics about mental health among LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity. The Survey also found that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide. The Trevor Project’s new study released on October 6, titled “All Black Lives Matter: Mental Health of Black LGBTQ Youth,” found that 44% of Black LGBTQ youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past 12 months, including 59% of Black transgender and nonbinary youth and half of all Black LGBTQ youth ages 13-17 years old.
In 2020, LGBTQ youth continue to face unprecedented challenges in their daily lives. LGBTQ youth today experience disproportionate levels of bullying, growing anxiety, and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued threats of violence and discrimination based on their identities. This year’s Spirit Day will be a critical moment of reflection as we shine a light on the resilience and power of LGBTQ youth.
That’s why iHeartMedia and GLAAD are teaming up to ensure messages of support, acceptance, and resilience to LGBTQ youth are louder than ever on October 15. Leading up to Spirit Day, iHeartRadio ran a PSA campaign voiced by on-air personalities Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest and Enrique Santos across its stations to highlight the risks facing LGBTQ youth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 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, especially in 2020.
To help take a stand against bullying and show support for LGBTQ youth, join the Spirit Day movement by visiting glaad.org/spiritday, where you can take the Spirit Day pledge and learn more about how you and your community can support LGBTQ youth. Plus, check out PRIDE Radio, The Pulse of LGBTQ America, that offers the best of music and programming for the LGBTQ community and its allies around the country, on iHeartRadio!