What’s the point of purple? Spirit Day explained

20/10/2010 at 8:30 pm (Gay)


I feel that this is a companion piece to my post about coming out, as LGBT issues seem to be becoming even more prevalent in my life.

As much as I’m not personally keen on the term “Spirit Day”, I am totally behind the reason for it. This is a single day to wear something purple, or change the colour of your TwitBookSpace profile pictures, and to raise awareness. Awareness of homophobic bullying, and to remember that people end their lives because of it. So what is the point of just wearing purple, or changing the colour of your profile avatar? It’s a fair question, and it’s one that’s worth asking.

“Wearing a purple t-shirt won’t stop all the bullying against people because of their sexuality, will it?” Logically, probably not.

“Just changing the colour of your profile’s avatar doesn’t fund any charity or support group.” Again, no. There’s no money changing hands at this level at all.

So why do it? It seems there is a perception that it’s an absolving of conscience. Almost as though by the very act of me wearing a purple t-shirt I have done my bit, and that’s the end of it. Or even thinking it pointless, as many believe there’s no need for gay rights movements any more because everyone is so progressive these days.

I have news that might shock you. That world is a long way off.

There are gay men and women who are marrying people of the opposite sex because they feel that is what they should be doing, not what they want to do. People are ending their lives because they are made to feel shameful and inadequate. I’m not talking about parts of the world that are known for intolerance, but this country too. It’s happening everywhere.

“So how does this relate to wearing purple? What good does it serve?”

The main purpose is that people are asking questions about it. It is being discussed, recognised. It’s a promotion of communication and awareness. As I have said, no money is changing hands by doing this. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a few moments that work as a reminder that this is still happening, and makes others ask about it.

Of course, it’s a personal choice to do it.  I don’t for one moment believe that anyone that hasn’t done this supports anti-gay bullying.  That’s just unrealistic and unfair.  And to those that are frustrated that changing an avatar’s hue is not enough to change the world, I applaud you. It’s impatience and anger that moves the world.

But don’t scoff at the attempts that others are making to do something… anything to make a difference, no matter how small. Even if one person knows there is support out there, and derives an extra modicum of strength to keep going, then it has been a success.

And my personal choice is to thoroughly support it. Although I don’t feel I’ve done my bit at all. Not nearly.

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