The sad deaths of gay teens have finally caught the attention of the media. While only a few names are in the headlines, we all know the truth: there are too many more to count. Too many young people certain that their lives cannot ever be worth living, that it won’t ever get better, because both personal bullies and impersonal so-called leaders of morality tell them they’re better off dead — and they tell teens that message every single day.
I’m especially struck by the fact that the media hasn’t found any girls or young women to mention.
In the last several days I’ve received no fewer than 40 Facebook invitations to events all over the country asking me to wear purple on October 20th in memory of our lost teens and kids. Sure, I can do that. But it seems to me that if the color of our bras or where we like to put our handbags in our Facebook status can raise awareness of breast cancer, surely purpling our profiles can have an impact on all the unaware adults and the troubled kids that we’re linked to on Facebook through friends and friends of friends. So I put together an “event.” Anyone can join.
I also collected a number of the great videos that celebrities have done to promote The Trevor Project and designed a little graphic so that anyone can show their purple on October 20. Queer as Folk (featuring Sharon Gless), Ellen DeGeneres, Daniel Radcliffe… Tim Gunn’s is especially touching as he relates his failed suicide attempt as a teen and how glad he is to have lived to see it get better.
Here’s what the event says:
If you’re reading this you probably already know it gets better. I know it gets better. We don’t need to wear purple — or purple our profile picture for a day — for each other.
I want kids and teens to know it, but most of all I want the grownups on Facebook to realize that a simple little picture on their profile for a day can save the kids in their life. I’m hoping to catch the eye of the parent, aunt, neighbor or teacher w…ho hasn’t heard of Trevor or Billy or the others. I want them to wonder what it means, ask questions. They need to open their eyes and realize that bullying is responsible for too many cases of suicide and that bullying is completely preventable. If one adult changes their “it’s just kids being kids” attitude about bullying because I (or you or a lot of us) stick a picture on our profile, it’s worth it.
Most people have somebody on their friend list who doesn’t get what the fuss is about. I’m going to purple my profile for them.
The graphic I made for the day is copyright free – anyone can use it, and please do. You can also retrieve it here: http://bit.ly/ProfilePurple .
There are a lot of groups on Facebook promoting wearing purple on the 20th, like Purple Pride Against the Intolerant Tide. So purple your profile and pick your purplest clothes on the 20th.
If you think a teen is in trouble, depressed, facing bullying, feeling completely alone and you don’t know what to do or how to help: