In early October 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan promulgated the observance of a new commemoration called Spirit Day, the first observance of which took place on October 20, 2010; it now however takes place on October 16. On this day people wear the color purple to show support for LGBT youth who are victims of bullying. Promoted by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of this cause, and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design.
Further national and international attention was drawn to Spirit Day when Clint McCance, the vice-president of an Arkansas school board, posted incendiary anti-homosexual remarks on the Facebook social networking website. McCance ultimately apologised and resigned on the CNN program Anderson Cooper 360°; however, he received further criticism for what many perceived to be an insincere non-apology apology, including from Dr. Phil in a later Anderson Cooper interview. McCance submitted his resignation letter to the Midlands School District effective November 1, 2010.
- Wackrow, Kyle (October 10, 2010). "Spirit Day to honor recent homosexual suicide victims". The Eastern Echo. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
In the wake of several suicides by gay teens, a teenage girl from Canada sent out a call for a worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Spirit Day. Posted and re-posted from blogs to Facebook to other social networking sites, her call for remembrance spread across the Internet in a matter of days. With the use of her Tumblr account, the announcement asks people to wear purple on Oct. 20 in memory of those bullied and harassed for their sexual orientation.
- Christ, Lindsay (2010-10-20). "October 20, 2010 Spirit Day—the Day to Wear Purple by Lindsay Christ—Long Island Free Press October 20, 2010:". Longislandpress.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Why Wearing Purple Will Protest Bullying:[dead link]
- "October 20 is Spirit Day in Hollywood—Neon Tommy’s Daily Hollywood:". Neontommy.com. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Potter, Chuck (October 23, 2010). "Bullies can't stand up to the power of purple". The Day Publishing Company. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
[Brittany McMillan] initiated the idea after Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University, committed suicide when his roommate used a webcam (computer camera) to "broadcast" Clementi's same sex date.
- Heussner, Ki Mae (October 20, 2010). "Spirit Day: Facebook Users Wear Purple – ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
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.
- "Gay teens honored on Spirit Day". ABS-CBN Interactive. October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
Various Facebook event pages for Spirit Day were put up. One such page dubbed "October 20th: Spirit Day", created by Tasha Gawkowski and Malcolm Zawacki, had 67,097 people "attending" as of 12:03 pm on October 20. Another one titled "R.I.P.;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple" had more than 1.5 million "attending" as of 12:22 pm on October 20.
- Johnson, Tim (October 20, 2010). "Spirit Day rallies support for gay and lesbian youths". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
They have included Tyler Clementi, a first-year student at Rutgers University in New Jersey who allegedly was subjected to cyberbullying by peers. Another was Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old in Minnesota who hanged himself in his bedroom. On a Facebook page honoring them and other victims, 1.4 million people said they would participate in Wednesday’s observance.
- Stewart, M. (October 29, 2010). "Dr. Phil slams Arkansas official for 'non-apology apology'". Anderson Cooper 360 at cnn.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
And McGraw offers his own interpretation of McCance’s mea culpa: "I certainly see his apology as suggesting that he's sorry that all of this came to light, he's sorry that somebody called him on it."
- Wing, N. (October 27, 2010). "Clint McCance, Arkansas School Board Member, Wants 'Fags' To Commit Suicide". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- Mirkinson, J. (October 29, 2010). "Clint McCance, Arkansas School Board Member, Resigns On 'Anderson Cooper 360'". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- "Dr. Phil Slams McCance "Non-Apology"". advocate.com. October 30, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- "On Anderson Cooper, Dr. Phil Isn't Buying Clint McCance's 'Non-Apology'". ontopmag.com. October 31, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
This is the biggest non-apology – non-apology apology – I've heard," McGraw said. "He did not apologize for what he said. He didn't apologize for the message that this gives to children, to kids, to parents out there. What he apologized for was saying that suicide was the only out and that he's sorry that he said that.
- "Ark. school board member quits after anti-gay rant". The Washington Post. November 1, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.[dead link]
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