Millions of people across the U.S. and beyond wore purple on Thursday for Spirit Day -- a day to stand up against bullying and in support of Lgbtq Youth. Spirit Day started in 2010 and has become an annual tradition that has garnered the support of celebrities, lawmakers, LGBTQ advocates and allies.
According to a recent report by GLSEN, an educational organization that advocates for LGBTQ youth, 85 percent of LGBTQ youth reported being bullied or harassed in school. GLSEN also found 58 percent reported feeling unsafe in school.
"Right now, we are living through an assault on LGBTQ rights and the progress we've made for LGBTQ youth," GLSEN President Eliza Bayard told NBC News. "Now, more than ever, it is absolutely critical that anyone with a platform find ways to stand up for the idea that every member of our society is welcomed and affirmed."
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy organization that has helped amplify Spirit Day since its inception, said "Spirit Day is needed now more than ever."
“LGBTQ youth already experience disproportionate rates of bullying, and the current social and political climate only adds to that. But when people ‘go purple’ and take a stand on Spirit Day, it sends a resounding message to LGBTQ youth that they are loved and valued," Ellis said.
This year, GLAAD also worked with LGBTQ social network Hornet on a bullying survey that found more than 70 percent of the network's primarily gay and bisexual male users felt anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment has increased over the past year.