Police, politicians, schools and universities have backed this week’s Wear It Purple Day to raise awareness of young LGBTI people and suicide.

On Friday, September 7, people are being urged to add some purple to their outfits to spread the group’s key message, ‘you have the right to be proud of who you are’.

Fifteen NSW schools have signed up to host Wear It Purple events this year, up from an estimated six schools in 2011.

NSW Police and Wear It Purple volunteers will be heading into schools to talk with students and staff about the day.

Nationals MLC Trevor Khan and Labor MLC Penny Sharpe have already shown their support for the day, having attending last week’s pre-launch event.

On Tuesday, Sharpe put forward a motion to the NSW Upper House calling for the state’s politicians to acknowledge the group’s achievements.

While the motion had not passed at the time of publication, it congratulated the group for its efforts to raise awareness around homophobic and transphobic bullying.

Wear It Purple spokeswoman Jayde Ellis, 22, told the Star Observer that this year’s event had received an unprecedented level of support.

“We recognise there are so many places that young people are faced with discrimination, vilification and feel isolated,” Ellis said.

“That’s why we aim to do this further than just social media.

“Now we’re expanding into schools and into the wider community because we are aware it happens all too often and so many young people are still isolated.”

The campaign began in 2010 after a spate of young LGBTI people took their own lives in the US due to homophobic abuse.

Wear It Purple began in Sydney, Australia but has expanded overseas and is now observed in the US and New Zealand.

“It started really just to create awareness about bullying and sexuality and diversity,” Ellis said.

“We’ve expanded since then into creating a much larger awareness day aiming for different parts of the community.”

National youth mental health foundation, headspace – which has 40 centres throughout Australia catering to people aged 12-25 – has fully endorsed the day and said if young LGBTI people need support, they could receive it from organisations like its own.

“Research tells us that same-sex attracted young people are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers,” a headspace spokeswoman told Star Observer.

“This isn’t because of their sexuality but because of social pressures associated with it, like homophobic bullying.”

The Star Observer also supports Wear It Purple Day and has changed its regular pink colour scheme to purple for this week.

INFO: www.wearitpurple.org (Lifeline 13 11 14)

WEAR IT PURPLE DAY 2012 from Wear It Purple on Vimeo.

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