BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Two years after Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan initiated Spirit Day to speak out against homophobia and transphobia, and to remember those lost to violence and suicide as a result of such discrimination, an increasingly wider cross-section of people, corporations, sports leagues and other entities across North America will embrace the colour purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag, on Oct 19.
In what the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is calling "an unprecedented show of support," the six most prominent Amercian sports leagues — the National Basketball Association (NBA)/ Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and NASCAR Diversity — will all "go purple" in support of queer youth.
The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign is also set to take on a purple hue, and the marquees of several hotels along the Las Vegas strip will be lit purple and will bear an anti-bullying message. The New York Stock Exchange, the Thomson Reuters' Times Square screen, the JFK traffic tower, the LAX pylon lights and Duke Energy Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina, are on the list of landmarks that will turn purple.
"Millions of Americans will unite this week in an extraordinary show of support for LGBT youth and in a stand against bullying,' says GLAAD president Herndon Graddick. "At a time when 8 out of 10 LGBT youth report being harassed at school, it’s now more important than ever that we let every young person know that it’s okay to be who you are."
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (ECHRT) will be partnering with GLAAD and QMUNITY, BC's Queer Resource Centre, for Spirit Day in Canada.
In Vancouver, a Spirit Day Candlelight Vigil, organized by Qmunity GAB Youth, will be held at Emery Barnes Park (on Davie Street between Richards and Seymour streets) from 7 to 8:30pm on Oct 19. Participants are asked to "go purple."
Landing image: advocate.com