Spirit Day remembers LGBT victims of bullying

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Cathedral of Hope Spirit Day participants

Today is Spirit Day when people wear purple to show support for young LGBT victims of bullying.

“So … purple is an awesome color, but it carries added significance on Thursday because it’s the annual Spirit Day,” Cathedral of Hope’s Chris Kelley said. “A high school student started Spirit Day in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBT youth and as a way to prevent bullying.”

Despite anti-bullying laws passed by states and policies passed by school districts, the stats are as bad as ever. About eight out of every 10 LGBT students experience bullying in school. As many as 63 percent feel unsafe, according to GLAAD.

“At Cathedral of Hope many of our Youth Leaders and staff members have been sporting purple all week,” Kelley said. “Our students are active in their schools to get the word out that bullying and hatred are NOT okay.”

A case of bullying in Florida that resulted in suicide has been in the news this week. Although not an LGBT student, the victim experienced much of what LGBT students go through.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is taking this case more seriously than most have in the past. He understands bullying begins at home.

The sheriff is considering filing charges against the older of the bullies as an adult because she’s showing no remorse over the death. He’s investigating ways to arrest the parents who have gone beyond defending their daughter by denying the bullying ever happened. He’s also investigating school officials for not taking the threats seriously and doing something to stop the harassment at school.

—  David Taffet

Wear purple Thursday and have a grape day

purple-shirtDallas has its Purple Foundation, which probably wasn’t so named as a reminder of anti-bullying, but which works for us. Anything to serve as a reminder that tomorrow, Oct. 17, is the fourth annual Spirit Day. The nationwide event is about raising awareness of bullying. And how do you do that? Well, you don’t need a ribbon or a wristband — you just need to get yourself to the far end of the rainbow.

Wearing purple on Thursday is a symbol of support for those who are bullied, who are often members of the LGBT community. Make it a shirt or some snazzy trousers or a thong if you’re an exotic dancer or a monster costume if you’re a Furry or play Barney or Tinky-Winky on TV. Anything that shows your support will be welcome.

Even businesses are getting into the act: Johnson & Johnson will be “going purple” by changing the colors on all its logos temporarily, from Motrin to Rogaine to Listerine. Corporate citizenship like that puts us in the pink … or at least, the mauve.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

First off, if you’re not already wearing purple today, go back home and put some on. Oct. 19 is Spirit Day, sponsored by GLAAD to draw awareness to bullying. (You can even turn your Facebook pic purple.)

Next, if you don’t already have tickets to see Madonna this weekend, good luck finding them …. though if you are going, we have a little primer for you about what to expect.

And for those who don’t have ‘em and can’t afford the scalper prices anyway, this is the final weekend to see Hello Again at Uptown Players (pictured) and also Freud’s Last Session at Theatre 3.  Or you can just see a movie — and Keep the Lights On is definitely worth seeing.

For a little more interactive experience, the IGRA’s Gay Rodeo World Finals are in Fort Worth this weekend, with plenty of events and parties. While you’re in Cowtown, swing over to Bass Hall to catch Ben Stevenson’s staging of the ballet Peer Gynt. Or you come back to Dallas and  gorge yourself on Burgers & Burgundy, a fundraiser for DIFFA, on Friday night.

You can gorge yourself also on Sunday by coming to the Texas State Veggie Fair, held this year at Reverchon Park. In addition to the fried (vegan) food competition, there will be vegan food sellers and all sorts of vendors promoting a vegan lifestyle.

And the final thing to set aside time for this weekend: The Turtle Creek Chorale has its fall “Partners in Harmony” concert on Sunday at the Meyerson.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones