LGBT spirit day to spark encouragement of students

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    Purple is TCU’s official color, but some donning the color today are doing so for a different reason.

    Students and faculty participating in Spirit Day wear purple as a way to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, national Spirit Day is Oct. 20.

    Last year the TCU Gay-Straight Alliance held a candlelight vigil on Spirit Day for the LGBT suicides, GSA president Jamal King said.

    King, a senior social work major, said the organization is focusing on a purple-out theme this year.

    GSA students will pass out purple wristbands and purple ribbons in class and around campus today, he said.

    “It is a constant reminder of, yes we have lost so many but we still have so many that are still here, still listening and who are still not afraid to be themselves,” King said. “That is kind of the message that we want to send.”

    Spirit Day began in 2010 with a teenager who took a stand against the bullying of LGBT youth by posting a status on Facebook, King said.

    “That shows how important our media is today-it just throws everything into motion. Just one person, one individual thought, ‘you know, purple, that is really going to show what I believe about this group of people; they have such spirit, and I want to honor their spirits,’” King said.

    Purple was the color chosen because purple represents spirit on the rainbow flag.

    “I just want them to know the reason why we wear purple on Spirit Day rather than just for TCU. It is just to recognize that there are ones that we-not we as the LGBT community-but we, as youth, as a nation, as TCU, that there are ones we have lost,” King said.

    Last spring, the TCU GSA organization attended a conference to discuss how both the university and the Fort Worth communities could be more responsive to the issue of bullying, King said.

    According to GLAAD, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns was a standout supporter during Spirit Day 2010.

    Burns caught the attention of the nation when he gave an emotional message about anti-LGBT bullying at a city council meeting just weeks before Spirit Day 2010. He also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last year on Spirit Day.

    Burns could not be reached for comment. 

    “It is not about being gay, lesbian, straight or whatever. It is about being here for each other and being on board with the idea of spirit; that we all have a ‘spirit’ and because of that we are here for each other, it is not anything more than that,” King said.