Facebook Goes Purple for Spirit Day

Millions wear purple online for Spirit Day to combat anti-LGBT cyberbullying.

ByABC News
October 20, 2010, 2:07 PM

Oct. 20, 2010— -- Purple is the color of choice on Facebook today, as millions of users show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

Answering the call from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to "wear purple on Oct. 20 for Spirit Day," Facebook fans around the world changed their status messages, created purple versions of their profile pictures, joined Facebook groups and more.

"By wearing purple online and offline today, millions of Americans are sending an important message to let gay and lesbian youth know that they are supported for being exactly who they are," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said.

Oct. 20 was designated Spirit Day by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan to honor the teenagers who recently committed suicide after anti-LGBT bullying online, according to GLAAD.

"Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks," the media monitoring group said, adding that purple symbolizes "spirit" on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT pride. "But, just as importantly, it's also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them."

Rallying around the cause, several Facebook groups encouraging people to wear purple have popped on the site. One of the biggest, "R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple," has attracted more than 1.6 million attendees.

In newsfeeds across the site, Facebook fans from California to Canada and Vienna to Venezuela posted messages of support.

"Today is Spirit Day! We may cry over loss but let's celebrate the lives still lived. They'll live on in SPIRIT & through SPEAKING OUT!" one Facebook user wrote.

"Purple blouse and purple leopard scarf in NY," another wrote. "Sending out love to everyone."

On Twitter, the hashtag #SpiritDay is a trending topic and GLAAD said its tweet about the campaign is listed as a Top Tweet.

The campaign even caught the attention of stars, such as Khloe Kardashian, Cyndi Lauper, Alyssa Milano, Ricky Martin and Ryan Seacrest, who joined the effort on Facebook and Twitter.