Today is Worldwide Spirit Day, in remembrance of the LGBTQ teens (and adults) who have committed suicide due to harassment, bullying and hatred. Purple stands for Spirit on the LGBTQ flag, and that is what we want these people to be remembered for. The idea for worldwide spirit day originated with a teenaged woman (yeah, she is definitely owed more than a “girl”) in Canada, and more info can be found here: http://www.glaad.org/spiritday.
I know it may be too late in the day for some of us to wear purple, but I hope that we can all take a moment to remember their lives, to think of them as more than just statistics, but as people, beautiful, imperfect, and whole. I hope that we can remember these people and think of how we collude in the bullying and harassment when we say nothing, when we refuse to see that there is a problem between people, and within our institutions. We are all responsible. There is no neutral place. There is no excuse.
Speak out when you hear others being homophobic, transphobic, queerphobic. It is your problem. It is my problem. Speak out against institutional discrimination. If our schools, workplaces, churches, or governments are unjust, then we are called to make them just.
If you have hetero-privilege, use it to advocate for the safety, rights and happiness that LGBTQ people are denied. It may be too dangerous for them to advocate openly. Be a safe haven. Be kind. Be compassionate.
If you notice bullying, confront the bully with empathy. Offer the bullied an ear and a shoulder and a shield.