Menstuff® has information on
October 20, Spirit Day. Especially for those who have
committed suicide most recently: Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh,
Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Cody J. Barker,
Harrison Chase Brown, Caleb Nolt, Billy Lucas, Jeanine
Blanchette, and Chantal Dube.
People are wearing purple today for Spirit Day, the grassroots event to honor LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth and show them that life is worth living even in the face of bullying.
The movement began with high schooler Brittany McMillan in the wake of multiple teen suicides and gained support from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and Facebook, which also launched an anti-bullying campaign.
Nearly 67,000 people said they were 'attending' Spirit Day on the event's official Facebook page.
Find out more about this day, how it can make a
difference to millions of teenagers and which celebrities
Justin Aaberg hanged himself in his room in July 2010. His friends told his mother he'd been a frequent target of bullies mocking his sexual orientation.
When Tammy Aaberg wears her purple T-shirt that says "End the Hate" on Wednesday, she'll be thinking of her son Justin. He killed himself after he was bullied at school for being gay.
"We are losing too many kids. This has been kept silent for too long," says Aaberg, 36, of Fridley, Minn., a Twin Cities suburb.
She is joining hundreds of thousands of young people across the USA who will be wearing purple Wednesday to call attention to the deaths of six youths who committed suicide after they were bullied or harassed because they were gay or were thought to be gay.
A Facebook page in honor of the victims shows 1.4 million people say they will take part.
One of those being remembered is Justin Aaberg, who was 15 when he hung himself in his room July 9. His last Facebook post said, "If you really knew me, no one would like me," his mother says.
Her son never told her of the emotional pain he was in, but gay people hear so many epithets and cruel remarks that they start to believe them, Aaberg says.
She says the observance can go a long way to helping young gays and lesbians realize they are not alone if they see a teacher or other students wearing purple in support.
"It will make them feel better about themselves," she says.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide as straight young people, says Laura McGinnis, a spokeswoman for the Trevor Project, a national organization focused on suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
She says it's unclear whether there has been an increase in suicides by gay and lesbian young people but the issue has gotten more attention. More suicides are being recognized by family, teachers and friends as being the result of bullying or harassment because of sexual orientation, she says.
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, which works to end bullying of gay and lesbian students, says nine out of 10 LGBT young people experience physical or verbal harassment.
Joey Twomey and Jason Galisatus, 17-year-old friends from San Mateo, Calif., say they've experienced name-calling because they are gay. Both plan to wear purple on Wednesday.
Twomey says that when he goes to class at his all-boys high school, where he's the only openly gay student, he'll be looking around to see who else is wearing purple. It will be a sign of who supports him, he says.
"I'd like to see some teachers come to school in purple," he says.
Galisatus, president of the Aragon High School Gay Straight Alliance, says he can identify with the isolation and pain the suicide victims felt. Seeing a classroom full of purple would help gay students see they have allies, he says.
"It says, 'I am here for you.' "
On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the LGBT youth who have committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and schools.
PURPLE represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and thats exactly what wed like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality.
Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and schools. Spread The Message. It is important that all this hate be stopped.
We want to thank Brittany McMillan for creating this event! www.easternecho.com/index.php/m/article/2010/10/spirit_day_to_honor_recent_homosexual_suicide_victims
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