Millions are going purple on Spirit Day to take a stand against bullying and show their support for LGBTQ youth. GO Magazine staff celebrated today by taking the pledge to commit ourselves to speaking up when we see bullying. Being an “upstander” means that you say something and you stand up when you see bullying. This doesn’t mean getting into an argument; it can be as small as offering to walk to class with the person who was being bullied. Allies are important and can make a huge difference when someone is facing harassment of any kind.
The fact is that LGBTQ youth face bullying at much higher rates than their straight and cis gender peers. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Spirit Day is so important because it brings these issues to the forefront. 82 percent of LGBTQ youth had a problem during the previous school year with bullying over sexual orientation, and 44 percent experienced physical harassment. These numbers are directly correlated to the fact that LGBTQ teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other teens. You can get involved through support organizations like GLAAD, GLSEN and The Trevor Project.
“Cyber bullying combined with bullying at school lowers self-esteem, which affects grades and mental health. 50 percent of all youth do not understand that discriminatory language is offensive, nor do they realize the negative impact on LGBT youth. GLSEN also found that LGBT youth spend more time online than youth in general. LGBT youth make friends online, and use the Internet to gather information about sexuality and health including information about HIV/AIDS. LGBT youth are twice as likely to participate in political activities as other youth, making these connections online also. Because LGBT youth spend more time online, they are more likely the targets of cyber bullying.” NoBullying.com
We all need to unite together as a community to stand up for our LGBTQ youth. The times we face are confusing for us all; nation-wide marriage equality was recently passed but at the same time, many states are fighting Obama’s recent legislation allowing trans teens to use the bathroom of their choosing in public schools. Trump, the republican nominee for president, has been quoted saying of bullying “You know what, it happens, but you gotta get over it.” He has complete disregard for LGBTQ youth and equal rights for all. His supporter, unfortunately, reflect those sentiments. That is where you come in. By taking a pledge today for Spirit Day, you can make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youth around our country. Are you with us?