People are speaking out against bullying of LGBTQ youth for Spirit Day (Oct. 19, 2017).

Spirit Day happens every year on the third Thursday of October.  It was started in 2010 by Brittany McMillan, a 16-year-old Canadian girl, in response to high-profile suicides by young LGBTQ people such as Tyler Clementi.

On Spirit Day millions of people make a statement supporting LGBTQ young people by wearing purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. They also “go purple” by making their profile pictures purple at Facebook and other social media websites.

The Jesus in Love Blog marks Spirit Day  by posting Station 14 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button, courtesy of Believe Out Loud. The painting matches Jesus being laid in his tomb with images of LGBTQ youths who took their own lives. Recognizable faces include Tyler Clementi, Jamey Rodemeyer, Raymond Chase, and Seth Walsh. They represent countless other young LGBTQ people who committed suicide because they couldn’t bear life in a world that despises and discriminates against queer people.

Spirit Day is promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Visit Spirit Day for more info, including an interview with McMillan about why she founded Spirit Day.

“The purpose of the event was so that people who were being bullied at their schools could come to school on Spirit Day and look around at all the people wearing purple, all the people who they could trust, all the people who would support them….I honestly had a bit of a pessimistic view of it. I thought that I would only get a few hundred people wearing purple and then my school. I never thought it would get as big as it did,” she said.

McMillan noted that Spirit Day is also a day to mourn the youths already lost. “A lot of events are always doing things for the present or the future, but they don’t really look back on the past. Spirit Day is a day where you can presently support LGBTQ teens, promise to stand up to homophobic bullying and also remember teens from the past,” she said.

Spirit Day person of faith logo

Books on ministry with LGBTQ youth

A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth” by Cody J. Sanders.

How can a church’s youth ministry have a positive impact on adolescents who struggle to live out their faith and their LGBTQIA orientation/identity? This guide for affirming congregations includes practical advice and a glossary. The author is pastor of Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square. Published by Westminster John Knox Press.

Making Space for Queer-Identifying Religious Youth” by Yvette Taylor.

A scholar charts the experiences, choices and identities of LGBTQ youth in inclusive churches. Sexuality and religion are seen as mutual paths that can help youth manage marginalization, discrimination and other issues. The author is education professor at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom and has held posts at universities in Australia, Canada and the United States. Published by Palgrave.

Links related to Spirit Day and LGBTQ youth bullying and suicide

Trevor Project national help line for LGBTQ teens
Visit or call 866 4U TREVOR

Day of Silence: Stop bullying God’s LGBTQ youth (Jesus in Love)
Top image credit:
LGBTQ youths driven to suicide appear as Jesus is laid in the tomb in Station 14 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button

This post is part of the LGBTQ Calendar series by Kittredge Cherry. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, events in LGBTQ history, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of faith and our allies.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved. presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

Kittredge Cherry

Kittredge Cherry

Founder at Q Spirit
Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author who writes regularly about LGBTQ spirituality.She holds degrees in religion, journalism and art history.She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer, advocating for LGBTQ rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches.
Kittredge Cherry