Huffpost Gay Voices

Spirit Day 2012: Sports Leagues Join Celebrities, U.S. Landmarks In 'Going Purple' To Prevent Bullying

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SPIRIT DAY
AP

Players from all major professional sports leagues will be joining a number of Hollywood A-listers and even some prominent U.S. landmarks in "going purple" on Oct. 19, or "Spirit Day," in an effort to combat bullying.

A spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) confirmed the news to HuffPost Gay Voices in an email, calling the move an "unprecedented show of support."

The participants -- which comprise the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and NASCAR -- will send messages to bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth via Twitter and Facebook.

Reba McEntire, Ricky Martin, Paris Hilton and rock group fun. are just a few of the many high-profile celebrities who've similarly pledged to wear purple for Spirit Day, while the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, North Carolina's Duke Energy Tower, the New York Stock Exchange and Thomson Reuters' Times Square Screen will also be lit in a violet hue to honor the occasion.

In addition, HuffPost Gay Voices will also appear purple for the day.

"From sports leagues to faith institutions to national monuments, schools and celebrities, millions of Americans will unite this week in an unprecedented show of support for LGBT youth and in a stand against bullying,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in the statement. “At a time when eight 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."

In a blog for HuffPost Gay Voices, viral video sensation turned prominent LGBT rights advocate Zach Wahls wrote, "The simple act of wearing or displaying the color purple on Spirit Day shows LGBTQ victims of bullying that they are not alone, no matter how their bullies try to make them feel. Without allies, acts of bullying can leave victims feeling excluded from society. Without allies, bullying victims are often left feeling stranded. But with allies, there is comfort."

Meanwhile, Katy Butler, the 17 year-old who earlier this year got the MPAA to change the rating of the film "Bully," has also launched a GLAAD-supported petition for President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to wear purple.

For more information on Spirit Day, click here.

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