Wear It Purple: Empowering rainbow youth
What started as a grassroots student-led campaign in response to the suicide of young LGBTI people in 2010, Wear It Purple Day has now grown to become local, national and international movement that shines a light against homophobic bullying and empowers rainbow youth. Cec Busby reports.
A grassroots student-led movement that kicked off in 2010 following the suicide of a New Jersey teen, Wear it Purple Day has evolved to become a worldwide phenomenon where students, schools and supporters of LGBTI young people ‘wear it purple’ to raise awareness of homophobic bullying and youth suicide.
With research showing 80 per cent of young rainbow people experience verbal or physical abuse, Wear it Purple Day hopes to go some way towards encouraging an atmosphere of empowerment and support in schools and the community at large.
Jayde Ellis, a member of the executive team of the Sydney Wear it Purple chapter, believes Wear it Purple has evolved considerably since its inception with many schools wanting to champion its message of acceptance.
“A lot of schools have voiced an interest in wanting to educate,” Ellis tells SX. “So what started as a day to raise awareness for suicide prevention has since melded into something where we celebrate our identity as opposed to focusing on the negatives – instead we focus on the positives.”
Wear it Purple Day is a rather unique initiative, in that it is run by students for students.
“Anyone who wants to be involved in any capacity from brainstorming and think-tanking to being involved in different teams can join and then the executive team executes all the projects,” explains Ellis.
Ellis believes Wear it Purple Day is significant because it encourages people to be proud of their identity and fosters inclusiveness.
“Wear it Purple is important because people need to know they can be proud. A lot of people feel they are shunned for their identity or may not feel many people support them – Wear it Purple is an opportunity for people from anywhere to show their support and increase the visibility of the LGBTI community so people no longer need to feel isolated or insecure.”
More recently the community at large has been getting involved with Wear It Purple.
“The biggest sign of solidarity we ask for is that people wear purple and take a photo of it and tag it with ‘Wear It Purple’ and post it to their social media.
“We’re looking to have the biggest bank of photos on social media as possible so LGBTI young people can see there is loads of support.”
[Pictured] The Wear It Purple crew: (Back row, left to right) Jayde Ellis, Brydie-Kate Cullen and Nelson Tang; (front Row, left to right) Chloe Lawrence-Hartcher, Mikhala Moxham and Brenna Harding. Photo: Cec Busby