Starting in 2010, Spirit Day has grown in influence as an event to commemorate LGBT lives lost to suicide, and to bring awareness to the harmful affects of bullying.
The event began with Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan, who responded to the rash of LGBT-related suicides in 2010 by encouraging people to wear purple on a chosen day to show their support. The color purple was chosen because it symbolizes “spirit” on the rainbow flag. After campaigning on social media, McMillan’s efforts inspired an estimated 1.6 million people around the world to participate in the first Spirit Day.
Now, with the help of GLAAD, Spirit Day has become a banner taken up by celebrities, organizations, and corporations.
Oprah Winfrey, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Betty White, Nick Cannon, Demi Lovato, Ricky Martin, Ke$ha, Kim Kardashian, and Melissa Etheridge are a few such notable figures to participate this year.
Sports organizations such as Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, and NHL are also doing their part.
Hosts of Good Morning America, TODAY, The View, CHBC, The Talk, BET, Jimmy Kimmel and Wendy Williams will be reaping, and brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, and Delta Air Lines are expected to participate.
MTV, OWN, VH1, Logo, Sundance, and TV Lands have said they’ll turn on-air logos purple as landmarks including Times Square, the New York Stock Exchange, LAX, JFK Airport, and the Las Vegas strip light up in purple in a show of support.
Shane Bitney Crone, subject and producer of the new documentary “Bridegroom,” discusses what Spirit Day means to him, saying “I wish there was a day like Spirit Day, where it’s cool to show you’re OK with people being different. You’re OK with everyone being true to who they are. I’m just so glad that a day like Spirit Day exists now, because I think it really would have helped me.”
You can follow the trend with #SpiritDay on Facebook and Twitter. A #SpiritDay app is also available, powered by Toyota Financial Services, that will turn your picture purple to be used across social media platforms.