Spirit Day 2011 – Stand Up To Bullying
Posted by Jerome Hunt, Ph.D.
Today I wear my purple with pride. It’s the second annual Spirit Day and I am showing my support for LGBT youth and speaking out against bullying.
I know first hand how difficult it can be to be bullied. There were numerous days where I was afraid to go to school because I didn’t know if that day was going to be the day that someone would decide to hit me because I was “different.” It was extremely hard at times to stay focused and enjoy my time in high school. I was called gay before I even knew what the word really meant. While I didn’t know what it meant, I knew the word carried a negative connotation among my peers. But I could never wrap my mind around why it was such a bad thing. To me it didn’t matter if you were a guy who like other guys, all that mattered is that you had a strong enough connection with someone else to make you happy. After all don’t we all just want to be happy and loved?
Thankfully, I had a wonderful groups of friends and discovered a love for music by joining the band. Because of this support, I was able to thrive being “different,” by being allowed to be me by my friends and family. Unfortunately, some LGBT youth are not able to share this similar support. That is why I wear purple today. In supportive of them, to let people know that bullying is not okay and is not a rite of passage. That it is okay to dare to be who you are. It takes a lot of courage to embrace you in the face of others who want you to conform. I applaud all those LGBT youth who embrace themselves and are out proudly being who they are. I also applaud those LGBT youth who are not yet comfortable coming out, still discovering who they are, and making strides to come out. Together we will create environments that are supportive of you to make your journey easier.
Being different is not as bad as everyone in grade school and high school make it out to be. With out people striving to be different, we would not have the internet, Iphone, twitter, facebook, or many of the advances that we cannot live without today. Today, I stand with millions of Americans and people across the world by wearing my purple and being vocal about how bullying affects all youth, especially LGBT youth. So , I challenge you regardless of whether or not you are wearing purple to be vocal and take a stand against bullying. Whether you are LGBT or straight we can all do our part to speak out against bullying.