Even with the slight gains, LGBTQ people have made in the United States, each year 8 out of 10 LGBT students are still harassed at school and 63.5% of students who reported harassment said the school did nothing or told them to ignore it. GLAAD’s campaign is designed to show visible support for LGBTQ youth and for everyone to make the pledge to take a stand against bullying by speaking out and by wearing purple. As this administration continues to roll back rights and protections for LGBTQ people, it more important than ever that everyone actively be allies that work to educate people on the issues.
This year Spirit Day reminds us to use trans inclusive language since the first step in creating acceptance and space for trans voices, is to use the proper terminology. This is especially important in the Latino community where we often hear the word “travesti” used to describe trans people instead of the correct term “transgénero.” The use of proper pronouns should always be respected even if a trans person has not taken hormones or had surgery. For example, if a trans woman wears a dress and goes by a female name you should address them as “she, her” unless they tell you otherwise, in that case simply use their preferred term instead. If this seems really simple—that’s because it is! We have zero excuses to ignore and disrespect other people’s identities anymore.
Getting the pronouns right might not seem like a big deal but it’s a tiny step towards acceptance. Because really how can we address the issues specific to trans and LGBTQ communities if we don’t even use the correct language to talk about them? According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, transgender people of color experience deeper and broader patterns of discrimination than white respondents as well as the overall U.S. population. The unemployment rate among transgender people of color was 20%, four times higher than the U.S. 5% unemployment rate. Undocumented, trans people specifically were more likely to face severe economic hardship and violence. The stats are horrifying and for that reason, those of us with privileged should be speaking up for the rights of Trans people’s, starting with the way we talk about them.
So what can you do to stand against bullying against Trans people and all LGBTQ people?
- You can take the pledge to go purple at www.glaad.org/spiritday
- You can share your support online by turning your profile pictures purple and by tweeting, re-graming and resharing GLAAD’s posts. Post selfies in your Spirit Day gear and use #SpiritDay to be a part of the conversation.
- Donate to the Spirit Day fund: By chipping in just $5 or whatever amount is right for you, you’ll be helping to support GLAAD’s year-round efforts to combat bullying, protect LGBTQ youth, and bring Spirit Day to more people than ever. Find out how at glaad.org/spiritday?donate
What you can do to activate your community?
- Wear purple at your job, in school, at church, or just around town. Tell people why you are wearing purple, share the history and message of Spirit Day, and ask those around you to participate by wearing purple in a stand against bullying.
- Contact local businesses and organizations, and ask them to support Spirit Day and LGBTQ youth by going purple at their place of operation and on social media. Encourage local media outlets to cover an event for Spirit Day or pitch a story to them that raises awareness of bullying and issues faced by LGBTQ youth.
- Hold an event for Spirit Day at your local community center, your college campus, or another public area.
- Encourage attendees to wear purple and center the event on raising awareness about a local issue pertaining to LGBTQ youth or bullying.
How will you get involved this Spirit Day? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like and share!