Formed by students in 2010 in response to a number of suicides by young LGBTIQ people as a result of bullying, the annual Wear it Purple Day will be held for the fourth time this Friday to help celebrate the contribution of sexuality and gender diverse (SGD), or rainbow, young people.
More than 70 schools, 40 workplaces and 12 tertiary bodies will take part during this year’s event on August 30 with those considering joining in asked to show their support for SGD young people by taking part in a purple no uniform day, purple-themed morning teas, written public messages as well as assemblies and other events at schools.
As part of Wear it Purple Day 2013 spokesperson Jayde Ellis says the youth advocacy organisation will also be launching a ‘Speak Up’ to encourage people, particularly teenagers and other young people, to reflect on the words they use and pledge to not use the term ‘gay’ and similar terms to connote negativity.
“Wear it Purple is led entirely by young people, and all of our team are volunteers,” she told the Star Observer. “The time, dedication and commitment displayed by this wonderful team is testament to the passion each and every one of them has for this message: you have the right to be proud of who you are.
“For our team, it is imperative that the message of Wear it Purple Day is not negative or focusing on our challenges as a community, but rather that it is a day where diversity is celebrated.”
Ellis said it was important for the wider community to understand that not all rainbow young people have support immediately around or available to them, with many still facing episodes of bullying, rejection and discrimination from families, friends, schools and the community at large.
“Wear it Purple Day is about showing isolated and at risk young people that they have support,” she said. “We want the message to be sent loud and clear to young people everywhere that they can be proud of who they are, no matter who they love or how they identify.”
The Wear it Purple float at the 2013 Mardi Gras (Photo: Doug Millen)