Earlier today I screened "Howl," the movie about Allen Ginsberg's poem and about Ginsberg himself, and could not help but think of today's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people. More than 50 years after the publication of "Howl," some people are still afraid to hear real life, and real desire, described; still others are made afraid to spell out what their lives are like, and what they desire. So this news from GLAAD was especially well timed for me.
The official word: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today joined millions of community members and allies to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth by participating in Spirit Day and remembering those lost teens who have taken their own lives as a result of bullying.
Spirit Day, created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, now counts millions of Americans committed on Facebook to wearing the color purple on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.
In addition to wearing the color purple, GLAAD is also asking Americans to turn their Facebook and Twitter photos purple until Wednesday and to share messages of support for LGBT youth. For more information on the free application and suggested messages, please visit http://www.glaad.org/SpiritDay.
Continues after the jump.
"I will be wearing purple on Spirit Day," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "The tragic suicides of our youth have started an important dialogue among Americans about the dangers of bullying, and now is the time to show our children that millions of Americans accept and value them regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The goal of Spirit Day is to show LGBT youth who are victims of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment that there is a vast community of people who support them. As the event’s Facebook page says: "This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple."
Last week after receiving thousands of concerned e-mails from constituents, GLAAD worked with Facebook to develop a solution to address violent and hateful anti-LGBT comments posted to a Spirit Day Facebook event page. That page now has over one million people confirmed to participate.
For more information please visit these events on Facebook: "R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple" and Spirit Day, A GLOBAL Day of remembering.
LGBT youth in need of immediate help should contact The Trevor Project 's 24/7 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).