Wednesday, October 20

Wear Purple Day: a fight to end intolerance

Today, Oct. 20, marks a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender spirit day in which people are encouraged to wear purple "to bring awareness to, and put an end to intolerance in honor of the 6 boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse at home and in schools" (Wear Purple Day).

From the Sydney Star Observer.
According to the Wear Purple Day event on Facebook, at least 245,145 people have decided to show their support. Purple is the chosen color for today's event because it represents spirit on the LGBT flag and spirit is exactly what people are being encouraged to have.

Some of the individuals being honored today that have taken their own lives due to homophobic bullying in recent months include: 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, 13-year-old Asher Brown, 13-year-old Seth Walsh, 19-year-old Raymond Chase, 19-year-old Zach Harrington, 15-year-old Justin Aaberg, and 15-year-old Billy Lucas.

The recent string of suicides committed by homosexual teens has caused many people to wonder if there is some sort of gay teen suicide epidemic.

Although there are no official statistics of the gay teen suicide rate, according to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers" (Johnson).

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), "says that 9 out of 10 LGBT  youth are verbally or physically harassed" (Evon).

Photo by Jacquelyn Martin.
Controversy surrounding the LGBT community this year has not only pertained to the numerous teen suicides, but to the United States military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy' as well.

After much debate as well as protest by people such as Lady Gaga, "the Obama administration is expected to appeal a federal judge's order barring the military from enforcing its ban on gays and lesbians serving openly" (Devereaux).

Although nothing has been set in stone, for the first time in American history, the United States military is accepting openly gay recruits after the Pentagon announced that they could begin to. Video coverage on the DADT policy debate can be viewed under 'Read More'.

Such steps towards change in favor of the LGBT community seems to show that support from citizens can, and do make a difference, so wear purple, if you have it, and never forget the lives that have been effected as well as lost due to discrimination, hate, and intolerance.

Devereaux, Tealy and Darrell Greene. "Don't Ask Don't Tell, Pentagon Recruiting Openly Gay Recruits." My Fox: Memphis. Fox Television Stations, Inc, 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Evon, Dan. "Oct. 20th is LGBT Spirit Day: Wear Purple and Show Your Support." IndyPosted, 20 Oct. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Johnson, Ramon. "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth Suicide Statistics." Gay Life., 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Wear Purple Day. (n.d.). In Facebook [event]. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from

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