Students Wear Purple Today To Support Gay Teens

Students across the country will be wearing purple today in memory of gay teens who have taken their own lives in recent months, and in support of those struggling with bullying.

The Facebook page for Octoer 20th: Spirit Day — Wear Purple reads,

It's been decided! On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the LGBT youth who have committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and schools.

PURPLE represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that's exactly what we'd like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality.

Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin committed suicide in July after reportedly being bullied, tells USA Today, "We are losing too many kids. This has been kept silent for too long." She'll be wearing purple today and says that seeing others do so will help gay youth: "It will make them feel better about themselves."

It's easy to criticize Facebook campaigns, some of which can seem facile and silly. Unlike, say, posting your bra color, though, this one actually calls for direct action in the real world. And while wearing a purple shirt won't bring back Tyler Clementi or Justin Aaberg, or grant the legal rights many gay Americans are currently denied, the gesture is an open display of support. It's a message that in a country that can still seem incredibly hostile to them, gay youth aren't all alone. For Joey Twomey, who's the only openly gay kid at his school, such a message could mean a lot. He says, "I'd like to see some teachers come to school in purple." So would we.

Youths, Adults Sign On To Wear Purple, Support Gay Teens [USA Today]
October 20th: Spirit Day - Wear PURPLE! [Facebook]

Image via CBS.