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Joe Biden, Halle Berry and other celebs go purple to declare: ‘I support LGBTQ youth’

Drag queen Nina West wears a purple gown and cotton candy pink wig next to actress Sophie Turner, dressed in white.
Drag performer Nina West, left, with actress Sophie Turner, participated in Thursday’s Spirit Day.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Well, color us … purple.

Thursday is Spirit Day, which supports LGBTQ youth in a united stand against bullying. The tradition dates back to 2010, when Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan partnered with the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD.

Marking its 10th anniversary, Spirit Day has been picked up and amplified by politicians, musicians, actors and artists across the spectrum. Celebrities and civilians alike are donning the color purple on social media to show solidarity with LGBTQ youth.

“Spirit Day only happens one day a year but bullying can happen at any time,” McMillan told GLAAD. “It’s not enough to have an attitude of standing up just one day out of the year — it needs to happen every day for something to shift, to change.

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“Even if it’s not Spirit Day, I would encourage all people to take a stand,” McMillan added. “If you hear a homophobic comment as you’re walking down the hallway or one of your friends uses a homophobic slur, don’t just sit back and let it happen.”

Although the visibility aspect of the antibullying campaign began with celebrities (Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and others backed the movement in 2018), this year’s supporters include politicians. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped up to show their support.

So why purple? The purple stripe on the rainbow flag — also known as the gay pride flag or LGBTQ pride flag — represents “spirit.” (The color lavender is also often linked to gay and LGBTQ resistance.)

Although acceptance of LGBTQ people and causes is increasing, the campaign’s mission remains relevant. In 2017, 71% of LGBTQ students reported hearing homophobic remarks from teachers because of their gender expression, the education organization GLSEN found.

That same survey discovered that 70.1% of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed. And 53.3% of those students did not report experiences of bullying because they doubted an intervention.

Check out what other celebrities, casts and crews had to say in support of Spirit Day below.

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