Hollywood Goes Purple for Spirit Day

Actor Wilson Cruz is leading the charge for Spirit Day.

If you’re seeing a lot of purple today, it’s for a good reason.
Today marks the second annual Spirit Day, when people don purple to show support for LGBT youth. A slew of celebrities have gotten involved, including Cher, Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, the stars of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and Tyra Banks, who took to Twitter Wednesday asking her followers to “Change ur profile pic 2 one w/fierce purple!” (Indeed, she’s wearing a violet shirt in her photo, collar popped righteously up.)

“Just last month we had the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer,” said actor Wilson Cruz (Rickie from “My So Called Life”) referring to the 14-year-old New York boy who took his life after years of anti-gay bullying. “We need this now more than ever.”

Cruz is working with GLAAD and GLSEN, an organization dedicated to making schools a safe haven for students of all sexual orientations. A study conducted by GLSEN found that nine out of 10 LGBT students feel harassed in school and 60-percent don’t feel safe in school.

“We’re not just talking about suicides here,” said Cruz. “We’re talking about young people not getting the education they need because they’re afraid to go to their classes. Whatever your feelings, what’s not debatable is the safety of our kids in school and their access to education.”

Cruz looks to Hollywood to set an example. As one of the industry’s first openly gay actors, he’s heartened by the openness he’s seeing in the entertainment world, especially Zachary Quinto’s low key coming out.

“I think that his talent will be the thing that people really concentrate on, more than anything,” he said. “We are coming to a time where your work can and will speak for itself. You never feel freer as an actor — as anyone in any profession — until you are able to live your authentic life. It really does inform your work and allow you to do better work.”

So what’s Cruz wearing today?

“I’m wearing a really fantastic purple cashmere sweater with a nice white shirt and a tie underneath,” he said, “Because I’m going to be on TV later and I want to look sharp.”