Spirit Day

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For other LGBT holidays, see List of LGBT holidays. For the religious observance, see Spirit Monday.

Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day observed on the third Thursday in October.[1] Started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan, it was initially created in response to a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi.[2] Promoted by GLAAD, observers wear the color purple as a visible sign of support for LGBTQ youth and against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month,[1][3] as well as to honor LGBTQ victims of suicide.


The first observance took place on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Later observances were held on Thursday, October 20, 2011[4] and Friday, October 19, 2012[5] before the tradition of the third Thursday of October was established in 2013.[6][7]

After the inaugural observance received promotion by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of the cause,[8][9][10] and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design. On Facebook, event pages created for the observance attracted more than 1.6 million users worldwide.[11][12][13]

Further national and international attention was drawn to Spirit Day when Clint McCance, the vice-president of an Arkansas school board,[14] posted incendiary anti-homosexual remarks on Facebook.[15] McCance ultimately apologised and resigned on the CNN program Anderson Cooper 360°;[16] 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.[14][17][18] McCance submitted his resignation letter to the Midlands School District effective November 1, 2010.[19]


The name "Spirit Day"[20] comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow flag, whose creator Gilbert Baker defined it as "representing 'spirit'".



Students of Het Baarnsch Lyceum dressed in purple on Paarse Vrijdag 2013

In December 2010, COC Nederland named the second Friday of December "Paarse Vrijdag" (Purple Friday). The Gay-Straight Alliance Netwerk has continued to celebrate the observance annually since then.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About #SpiritDay". GLAAD. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  2. ^ Potter, Chuck (October 23, 2010). "Bullies can't stand up to the power of purple". The Day Publishing Company. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ Wackrow, Kyle (October 10, 2010). "Spirit Day to honor recent homosexual suicide victims". The Eastern Echo. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Spirit Day Recap with Brittany McMillan". GLAAD. 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  5. ^ glaad (2012-10-20). "Thanks for supporting #LGBT youth and standing up to bullying for #SpiritDay 10/19! glaad.org/spiritday" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  6. ^ "Go Purple on October 17th for #SpiritDay". GLAAD. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. 
  7. ^ "About #SpiritDay". GLAAD. Retrieved 2016-10-20. Spirit Day now occurs every year on the third Thursday in October 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Why Wearing Purple Will Protest Bullying: Archived October 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "October 20 is Spirit Day in Hollywood—Neon Tommy's Daily Hollywood:". Neontommy.com. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  11. ^ Heussner, Ki Mae (October 20, 2010). "Spirit Day: Facebook Users Wear Purple – ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Gay teens honored on Spirit Day". ABS-CBN Interactive. October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Tim (October 20, 2010). "Spirit Day rallies support for gay and lesbian youths". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Stewart, M. (October 29, 2010). "Dr. Phil slams Arkansas official for 'non-apology apology'". Anderson Cooper 360 at cnn.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ Wing, N. (October 27, 2010). "Clint McCance, Arkansas School Board Member, Wants 'Fags' To Commit Suicide". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  16. ^ Mirkinson, J. (October 29, 2010). "Clint McCance, Arkansas School Board Member, Resigns On 'Anderson Cooper 360'". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Dr. Phil Slams McCance "Non-Apology"". advocate.com. October 30, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  18. ^ "On Anderson Cooper, Dr. Phil Isn't Buying Clint McCance's 'Non-Apology'". ontopmag.com. October 31, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Ark. school board member quits after anti-gay rant". The Washington Post. November 1, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010. [dead link]
  20. ^ "spirit Secret". Spirit secret. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  21. ^ Purple Friday Gay Straight Alliance (in Dutch), retrieved December 10, 2015
  22. ^ "DIT WAS PAARSE VRIJDAG 2015...". Gay-Straight Alliance Netwerk (Netherlands). Retrieved 2016-10-20.