October 20th, 2010
10:10 AM ET

iReport challenge: #BeAHero for gay teens

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.


The recent rash of teen suicides has put a harsh spotlight on anti-gay bullying. It’s a problem throughout the world, as evidenced by today’s story about the Ugandan newspaper that published 100 pictures of gays and lesbians in the country and called for their hanging.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has dubbed today Spirit Day. The advocacy group is asking people to wear purple to show support for gay youth and “stand UP to the bullies.”

Here’s your “Be A Hero” challenge for today:

If you support the mission to end anti-LGBT bullying around the world, do one or more of the following:

– Put on purple, take a photo or video of yourself and upload it to iReport

– Change your Twitter profile or Facebook page to purple

– Tweet: I’m wearing purple to end anti-LGBT bullying. #spiritday #BeAHero

– Record a video for the “It Gets Better” YouTube project (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the latest to join the campaign)

Then tell us what you did in the comments.

Check back this afternoon for the results of today’s challenge.

soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    the first thing the gay community needs to do is to stop racism within the gay community. They refuse to acknowledge how widespread racism and class are in the gay community. How can you stop bullies if you are one yourself?

    October 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • RDC

      Funny, I did not know that racism only occurred in the gay community? Shouldn't your comment have been everyone needs to stop racism in their own cultures/communities and be more accepting? Bullying occurs everywhere, even with adults so it is everyone's problem. Stop trying to paint an ugly picture only of the LGBT community.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      Are you part of any "Gay Community" because I am and I would completly disagree with you!!! I feel we are very open and embrace many differences including race.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eestigirl

    I'm wearing my purple today!!!!

    People who say that why is the focus on only gay-teens, because straight teens go through the same thing. Absolutely they do. But like someone mentioned, people are just stepping up saying enough is enough when it comes to gay bullying. If you say something needs to be done by straight bullying – then are you doing something for it??? My guess is no, so just stop hating on people who try to make a difference for the better. You should try it yourself.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael Sawyer

    There have not been a 'rash' of gay teen suicides recently. The number has been extremely high for years, not going up or down. This is not a "sudden" thing. The press one day decided they had nothing else to report on so hey, lets take a look at this kid from Rutgers who killed himself.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      It's about time they brought some attention to it. Bullying needs to STOP NOW. One teenage suicide is one too many.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    I'm not sure how any so called Christian could not be in favor of getting rid of bullying for gays or anyone else for that matter. If religion is your reason, then you are pathetic and better go read a few commandments, especially the one about loving your neighbor. If plain old hate is your reason, then you are pathetic and you can't argue with irrational hatred that is unjustified.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard

    Im going home on my lunch break and changing into something purple! thanks!

    October 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Drusilla A. Denning

    I am Gay!

    They gave a warning that the bully was near
    And there I shook and in all fear,

    Not knowing why I was ashamed
    But sensing that I was to blame

    And silently I stood and cried
    Wishing that I had died

    When one by one I turned to see
    A million people dressed like me

    Wearing purple and standing tall
    Standing out there in that hall

    And suddently it was so clear
    That I had friends standing near

    To make it through another day
    And be proud that I am gay!

    Written by: Drusilla A. Denning – for Spirit Day 2010

    October 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • R.J.

      Wow....excellent...I am printing this and reading it at our LGBT youth group tonight...with proper acknowledgement of course...thank you!

      October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley Randall, Washington

      thats so awesome! looove it <3!

      October 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jgkastner

      I'm posting this on my Facebook (with credit). Simple but powerful. You are a champion.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • madonna

      what a beautiful poem.... very touching..... someday, we will allllll stand together as one. good job hon.....

      October 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamie

      Beautfully said

      October 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna Weiss

      Loved your poem and you are absolutely correct. You are NOT alone. There are plenty of folks like myself who are straight but not narrow-minded! I support anyone who is being bullied, but I really believe the gay teens are especially an easy target for the misguided and uneducated. My son is gay and I fully support him (as I always have – even before he came out), his partner, and everyone like him. This is simply the way my son was born. I'm proud of him every single day for being a wonderful man who also just happens to be gay. He is who he is and I love him unconditionally. I hate to see anyone suffer due to bullying! STOP THE HATE! LEGALIZE GAY!

      October 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotty501

      beautiful!

      October 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      Awesome!

      October 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OnTheRoad

    It is a real shame that parents today are teaching their children that they should never stand up for themselves, but should just sit there and take it and then complain about how bad they are treated!!! Children should taught to be themselves, be that whatever!!!!

    October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    If you want to be a "hero", then tell these people the truth. Jesus Christ is the only way to enter Heaven. If you really care about yourself, why would you choose a lifestyle that guarantees your condemnation? Turn away from your sin and place your faith and trust in Jesus. He will give you a supernatural ability (grace) to overcome sin in your life.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      We're born this way – it's not a choice. I have faith in God – do you think God would have "cursed" my parents with a gay child? Christians are not even supposed to associate themselves with gay people yet they give birth to them everyday. There are tons of churches that promise to "change" gay people – "fix" them and "make them straight" -- totally not possible. These people are made to feel so bad about themselves that they feel their only option is to go to the church that claims they can cure them when in reality, it's forcing these gay people to live in denial the rest of their lives for fear of being bullied. OPEN YOUR MIND – STOP BEING SO IGNORANT. If you are a Christian and truly believe everything you read in the Bible then you know: NOT EVERYONE THAT BELIEVES GOES TO HEAVEN – there isn't room for everyone... Guess what???? You're one that won't make it in due to your hatred and judging of others. Only God can judge and well... you're not God buddy.... far from it.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Sutton

      Dan...it is not a choice. That is an opinion. Why would anyone choose to be gay? I didn't! I was raised in church and still attend. Jesus Christ loves and no one can tell me differently.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      First of all, I don't hate anyone and I am not judging anyone. I am simply telling people the truth. It will make a difference when you stand before God to be judged by him.

      I am a straight man who is married. Like most men, I still find other women to be attractive. Should I give in to my lust and sleep with other women? Surely, God made me this way, right? The list goes on and on, but I hope you will get the poiint. We decide if we will love and obey God or if we will love and obey sin. One way leads to everlasting life – the other to everlasting destruction. The choice is yours...

      October 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • RDC

      Well for one thing the Bible was written by men, not God. Secondly it has been altered through out history (as you can tell from the different version out there) so whose to say what is truly God's word. So, how can you truly rely on it to make your decisions for you? God, I don't think is limiting on his love for people. So why should we?

      October 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • SurRy

      blah, blah, blah...

      October 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Sutton

      You have no idea about my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am married and find other men to be attractive, but I don't sleep with them either.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • dr7x

      Your right the church cant change you but Jesus can. And yes it is a choice, even though you feel you were born that way, you were not. Thats the biggest deception you can have to keep you from being healed from this disease.

      October 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      why are you such a jerk?

      October 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • RickF

      @Dan & dr7x – seriously, at what point in your life did you "chose" to be hetero?! You make absolutely no sense. I know dozens of people who have been through supposed "ex-gay" programs, some have even gotten married to a woman, and ultimately they come to realized that being gay isn't a choice and there is nothing "evil" about it. I believe in God and Jesus and your opinion isn't going to interfer with my spirituality, faith and relationship with God. If people would stop trying to put God in a box that is made up of their fears, biases and lack of understanding, then the world would be a much more beautiful place. I'll keep praying for everyone...the bullies and the victims.

      October 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jeff t

    Why purple? As a Louisiana State fan I'm kind of miffed at the color choice. In any case, kids are bullied mercilessly for a myriad of things. My child, like millions of others, is constantly bullied because he wears glasses. Are gay teens killing themselves at higher levels than the rest of teens? Few teens have two parents these days. How are you, by wearing a purple shirt, going to change them?

    October 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Sutton

      Purple represents spirit in the rainbow flag.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • RickF

      Yes, jefft LGBT teens are killing themselves at a much higher rate than other teens. I agree with you that children get bullied for all types of reasons...and they are all unacceptable. If a 15yo boy went out and threatened or physically abused a senior citizen, he would be hauled in and charged, but nothing happens when a 15 yo abuses another 15, 14, 13 yo, etc.

      October 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fairmindedness4all

    Being gay is not a choice; it is part of who a person is. Therefore, being gay is not a "viewpoint" or "cause" any more than being born caucasian or brunette or left-handed. Gays just want to be accepted for who they ARE; how they were born.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Don Sutton

    To all the people who say this doesn't deserve time in the press, or who are negative about the topic; watch out. Your child, or future child might be gay. Karma is a Bit_ _!!

    October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tyler

    I am 19. I am gay. I tried to kill myself in 2007. I am at a point right now in my life where Crabman, Tired-of-it, Not-buying-it, (or whatever lonely creepy troll guy keeps making these comments as different people) are like rats or pigeons or mosquitoes. Yes, you have a human form, but if anyone is truly that ignorant why do you deserve to bother and disgust me, just as you say I have no right to bother and disgust you. The truth is that people like you ARE the reason gay teens choose to end their lives. Before we even know we are gay, we here YOU say your hate, maybe we even believe it. Then, we start to f"ing feel different, THEN we feel like something unfixable and horrible is wrong with us. If I ever go back to a place as dark as where I was 3 years ago then I am taking people with me as the tears roll down my face.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • crabman

      then you really have issues get some help

      October 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey30

      Jeff t your sick!!!!!!!! You need help. How dare you say that to someone after they just said that! If I go to hell for being gay I will wait for you. Because you and I need to have a talk. That was low. What is wrong with you people???
      I am really sorry Tyler I was just like you when I was young. Just hold on it does get better. I am dad and I just talked to my son about this the other day. I want him to know I am there for him.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • WhoCares

      I stand with you. I'm not threatened because I'm secure in my manhood. DO NOT let these bigots get to you. They post behind computer screens knowing that their hate won't get back to them. They are miserable people that want to make others' life miserable.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • KB

      I'm glad you're here, Tyler.
      It does get better.

      October 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • alone

      Tyler,thank you very much for posting this on here, I know exactly how u feel, I just don't now how to get out of it, thanks for giveng me hope! I have attempted suicide twice already but Jesus saved me, I just don't know where to go from here.

      October 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. crabman

    i want the right to punch someones lights out for pushing their lifestyle on me --- sounds kinda rude don't ya think but these people want the right to tell me what they want-- this is not about gay teens it's about all teens gay or straight W T F

    October 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Sounds to me like you're just submerging yourself in it. Why are you here in this thread, CONTINUALLY reading and responding, if you're so "sickened" by it? If I was sickened by a snake, I certainly wouldn't keep reading about snakes, looking at pictures of snakes, touching snakes.... DUH.
      LOL, you're probably snapping your carrot while you read all these posts. Dummy.

      October 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SurRy

    Who would Jesus bully?

    October 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Karissa

    Everyone hates on LGBT cause they think that god will be mad if we dont beleive the same things he does. well if thats the case screw him and all you haterz.. Gay ppl are some of the nicest people you will every meet. there passionate and caring and all together awsome. Do i fall into the LGBT group? no but, i strongly support. PURPLE!!! =] Love Yah LGBT'S!!!

    October 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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