This Thursday, October 15th, the Denver City and County Building will be lit up in purple for Spirit Day – a day to take a stand against bullying and to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. All students – including LGBT students – in Colorado should feel safe, welcome, and empowered make change in their community. Unfortunately, many LGBT students face disproportionate amounts of bullying, harassment, and discrimination every day. Spirit Day represents an opportunity for individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, and public figures to wear purple – the color that symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow pride flag – to let LGBT young people know they have support in their communities.
In Colorado, the reality that many LGBT young people face in our schools is heartbreaking. Nine out of 10 students hear anti-gay remarks on a daily basis and five out of 10 students regularly hear negative comments about transgender people. This stark reality is part of the reason that 48.5% of Colorado’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual teenagers have considered suicide in the last year – a number that is even higher if you are a transgender young person in Colorado. With these statistics stacked against LGBT young people, Spirit Day is an important opportunity for Coloradans across the state to publicly show their support.
Wearing purple on October 15th can send a powerful message to the young people you know. A student who sees their neighbors wearing purple at their local coffee shop, at the grocery store, on their Facebook feed, or at school can change how safe young people feel in their community.
While wearing purple on Spirit Day is important, it’s only the first step in making sure that young people feel welcome in their schools – no matter their zip code. Making our schools safe for all young people will take all of us; so consider getting involved with a school in your city, joining your school district’s accountability team, or even volunteering with an organization that serves LGBT young people. Together, we can all have an impact in the lives of LGBT young people across our state.
We hope you’ll join us in wearing purple on October 15th, and then work to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people across our state starting on October 16th.