Imagine being afraid of being who you are because your school’s bullies have you in the crosshairs. Now imagine what it would mean to turn on your television and see your favorite celebrity wearing purple—or looking up at the New York City skyline and seeing the Empire State Building lit up with purple lights—in support of you. This year, on October 20, people everywhere will wear purple for the second annual Spirit Day in support of the fight against LGBT bullying.
Could a simple act of wearing purple for a day change the world? Brittany McMillan, the 17-year-old creator of Spirit Day, was sure of it. “The purpose of the event was so that people who were being bullied at their schools could come to school on Spirit Day and look around at all the people wearing purple, all the people who they could trust, all the people who would support them,” she says.
Little did she know how widely her message would spread, and how many people would support LGBT youth. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the chief sponsor of Spirit Day, has partnered with celebrities like Amy Poehler, Padma Lakshmi, Andy Cohen, Chaz Bono, Vinny from Jersey Shore and the cast of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, among others, who have all pledged to go purple this year. Corporations such as AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Yahoo! and MTV also support the cause.
It’s so easy to show your sparkle—and the best thing is, it makes a difference. Check glad.org for ways to get involved, and make sure to riffle through your closet for your favorite purple garb on October 20.