by Brittany Geragotelis
Today, I'm wearing purple. And why aren't I sporting my signature color (pink), you might ask? Because today, October 20th, people across the U.S. are being encouraged to don purple to take a stand against bullying, harassment and hateful speech. That's why I'm proudly wearing purple today.
This show of support was prompted by the rash of suicides by gay teens after they were bullied by their peers. The most recent victim was 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, whose roommate at Rutgers University hid a camera in their dorm room and broadcast a video of him in the room with another man live on the internet. The following day, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
Hate and fear and ignorance of those who are even the slightest bit different than the "norm," has got to stop. And although this push of purple was spurred because of the prejudice against gay people and lesbians, they aren't the only ones out there who experience bullying and harassment. Unfortunately, there's a lot of that going around. I, myself, was bullied a lot in high school, and still to this day, have very few happy memories of that period of my life. See, I wasn't popular in school and never really fit in. A few mean girls used to threaten to beat me up after football games and would even sit right in front of me in the stands as I cheered, shouting out how they were going to kick my ass. Then, teammates would have to walk me out to the car to make sure I wasn't jumped. A few times they threw full Gatorade bottles at me while I cheered on the sidelines.
Was my experience any more serious than what the G&L community has to go through? Probably not. But the point is that there are people out there who put a lot of thought and energy into making my life miserable. And it happens much too often, to too many people. We have got to start letting people know that this kind of behavior is wrong and unacceptable. And an easy way we can start is by showing our solidarity today.
So, grab a purple fleece, a lavendar skirt, a violet headband—anything in the purple family will do just fine—and help stand up to bullies.