Today is the nation’s annual Spirit Day. Today, I think of 18-year old Tyler Clementi, 11-year old Carl Walker-Hoover, 13-year old Asher Brown — or 15-year old Jamie Hubley, who ended his life just this past weekend because of anti-LGBT bullying.
While the major “ask” on Spirit Day is for folks to wear purple in order to raise awareness around the issue of anti-LGBT bullying, I’d also like to talk problem-solving. We need to use today not just for awareness-raising, but to make specific calls for action, like pushing for enumerated anti-bullying policies in school districts (which means the listing of protected categories, such as race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation) — and calling out the blatant hypocrisy and bigotry that Republican legislators are engaging in by blocking this legislation at all costs.
For example, the Michigan Senate just had a huge blowout over proposed anti-bullying legislation that Republicans refused to pass because an amendment would have required enumerated policies in classrooms. And rather than implement these policies that are proven to vastly improve conditions for students, other problematic laws are being passed in various states — like the “neutrality policy” in Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota which literally tells the school district to not intervene in bullying that’s targeting sexual orientation. That’s right — it’s like a school pass to bully LGBT students.
So wear purple today, spread awareness and show solidarity. Make your online profiles purple. But more importantly, talk about what we can do. Tweet what #SpiritDay means to you. To me, it’s that enumerated policies can make a significant impact on this epidemic — and come hell or high water, I’ll call out every damn GOP legislator responsible for making LGBT youth feel unsafe in schools. That’s where my spirit is.