October 20th, 2010
07:40 PM ET

Taking a stand for gay teens in the #BeAHero challenge

We’ve never seen quite so much purple.

For today’s “Be A Hero” challenge, we invited you to take a stand against anti-gay harassment around the world.

Hundreds of you joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)’s Spirit Day by wearing purple, changing your Twitter profile or recording a message for the “It Gets Better” project.

The responses are still coming in through Twitter and iReport, but here are some of our favorites:

Kendall Binder, an instructor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, wore a mauve shirt and a wine-colored jacket to his “Introduction to Popular Culture” class.

When he saw that none of his students was wearing purple, he decided to change his lecture.

“The topic of discussion for today was Heroes. Instead of talking about Superman or Harry Potter, I spent most of the class talking about Harvey Milk, the bullying issue and the 'It Gets Better' campaign,” Binder said.

Frank Jaquez, an instructional designer in San Antonio, Texas, said, “It was awesome walking into the office to see various shades of purple in the cubicles around me.” (See Frank's iReport)

Over in Belgium, an exchange student from Pennsylvania got her class to dress in purple and chronicled the experience on her Hope for Humanity blog.

“Almost my entire class and people in other classes were wearing something purplish! Even a math teacher came in representing ‘spirit,’ ” Hope wrote. “People all over the world wish that violence and discrimination would end.”

Today’s call to action wasn’t for everyone. Commenter just-me wondered why gay teenagers were singled out for the “Be a Hero” challenge.

“Lots of kids and teens get bullied, but there isn't any attention on them. We need help fighting bullying period. Other kids are killing themselves b/c of it. ... Not just gays,” just-me wrote.

That commenter got an earful from readers like ground2, who responded: “There is emphasis on specifically gay teen suicides because it's always been an acceptable form of bullying in our society; and now the gay community is taking a stand to say ‘enough is enough.’ ALL teens have a hard enough time figuring out who they are; ALL teens need a hero. The gay community is just standing up and doing something about it. Bravo!”

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. phil

    I'll keep my stand for starving children, thank you though.

    October 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • adelphia

      you must have a really wide rear from all that sitting you do.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • smurfmacaw

      I see that CNN has finally taken a stand and is espousing their opinion.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Monyki

    I think you're wrong, Phil. There is space enough for all campains for Good in the world.

    I'll keep on stand for starving children, and I aldready included a stand against gay harassment.
    "in need", doesn't stand only for material needs, but also for emotional and social needs.
    No poverty is a need, so is leisure.

    I'm not radical. I believe we should make an effort to become more moderated when we deal with public services, and Human Rights.

    October 20, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dan morgan

    Young gay children are killing themselves at alarming rates due to hate and bullying. IT MUST BE STOPPED. THE HATE AND BULLYING. I am gay and did NOT ask to be. We r wonderful beautiful children of GOD. I call for a gay boycott of upcoming elections to protest the presidents appeal to the higher court to stop gays from openly serving in the military. AND HE WON. Now we go back to being second class citizens. GAYS STAY HOME ON ELECTION DAY. or vote repub and teach the dems and Obama a lesson they wont forget. LIKE THE TEA PARTY IS TEACHING THE REPUBS A LESSON THEY WONT FORGET. God bless our GAY children and take the hate away before GOD KILLS all u haters. BOYCOTT Nov.2. LETS TEACH THE PRESIDENT A LESSON AND THE DEMS. GOD BE WITH GAY PEOPLE AND OUR STRAIGHT FRIENDS WHO LOVE US.

    October 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • connie

      I sympathies with your anger and hurt. I think they reversed it to protect those who are gay. I understand that gay people want to just live their lives without having to hide who they are. They should have that right as far as I'm concerned but our society isn't ready yet.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • connie

      We have to protect our kids in school somehow. Maybe we adults are going to have to go to the schools a little more often. Rarely do parents go to the schools, they feel unwelcome by the staff. I can not imagine being pushed to the point of taking my own life. Sad stuff...

      October 20, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Terry

    Now that gays are allowed to join the Military, I can hardly WAIT to get to Boot Camp and see all those Buff Soldiers, waiting to be "Trained" ;). Especially in the Shower Room.... Yeah !!

    October 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      also another troll pretending to be gay. Get a life since you know nothing about ours you creep.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. dan morgan

    THE PERSON ASKED WHY THE ATTENTION WAS ONLY ON ANTI GAY BULLYING AND GAY SUICIDES. THATS BECAUSE OUR BEAUTIFUL GAY CHILDREN KILL THEMSELVES AT A FAR HIGHER RATE THAN STRAIGHT CHILDREN. FAR HIGHTER RATE PEOPLE. ALL BULLIES NEED TO BE BANNED FROM SCHOOL PERIOD. YOU STRAIGHTS WHO HATE GAY PEOPLE THE ONES OF U WHO DO. ARE HELL BOUND IDIOTS. THAT BIBLE BELONGS TO US GAY PEOPLE TOO. OUR GAY CHILDREN KILL THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY FILL HATE. U SO CALLED CHRISTIANS WHO HATE I SWEAR TO U. THAT U WILL BUST THE GATES OF HELL WIDE OPEN. THEIR IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY. PRAISE OUR GOD HE LOVES U MY GAY BABIES AND WE LOVE U MY BEAUTIFUL GAY CHILDREN. SODOM AND GOMORAH WERE DESTROYED BECAUSE OF FORNICATION AND ADULTRY. READ YOUR BIBLES IN JERIMIAH AND U WILL SEE. PRAISE GOD AND THE GIFT OF GAY CHILDREN. THANK U GOD FOR OUR BABIES.

    October 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conchchowder

      WWJD? He wouldn't type in ALL CAPS. This is very rude on the internet, but I guess you're a Christian...you can be rude and nasty and just ask Jesus to forgive you and keep on typing in CAPS. Asswhole.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • seanna soto

      Im a Christian and I agree with you!!! God loves us all and is the only one who can judge us when the time comes. Please remember He created us all as Brothers and sisters and demands that we love one another! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS ........Hate is the work of the deciever not God!!!

      October 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Que 3000

      They probably wouldn't have killed themselves if their families, friends and society would accept their being Gay, is that what you are saying?
      That's Just Gay!

      October 21, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • NewCoaster

      TROLL

      October 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dan morgan

    THIS REPUBLICAN KNOWS THAT GOD AND JESUS CHRIST PUT GAY CHILDREN ON THIS PLANET AND MADE THEM SPECIAL AND KIND. MY GAY BABIES LOOK UP TO GOD AND KNOW U R SOMEBODY SPECIAL AND HE LOVES YOU AND I LOVE U AND ALOT OF STRAIGHT FOLKS LOVE U. U WERE MADE SPECIAL TO BRING LOVE AND SMILES TO A SAD WORLD. BE A HERO AND LOVE A GAY CHILD AS GOD LOVES EACH GAY LITTLE BOY AND GIRL HE MADE SPECIAL. AND DONT WANT U TO CHANGE A THING ABOUT BEING GAY. THATS A NORMAL EMOTIONAL MENTAL STATE OF BEING. SCREAM U R GAY AND KNOW U R LOVED.

    October 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Conchchowder

    "Be A Hero" is a slang term for "Go kill yourself" This is a poor choice for a "Be a hero" subject. Teens are keenly aware fo slang and the meaning. This is not good!

    October 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott in boise

      wow. that totally clicked! You are absolutely right. What a horrible faux paw. I guess this shouldn't have been in the 'be a hero' category.

      October 21, 2010 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. dan morgan

    MY COMMENTS CNN WERE WONDERFUL AND LET GAY CHILDREN KNOW GOD LOVES THEM JUST LIKE THEY ARE. I MEAN JUST LIKE THEY R. TO TAKE THEM DOWN IS WRONG AND I BEG U TO LET ME HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEACH CNN. DANIEL MORGAN. 4233944647

    October 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Que 3000

      Nope!

      October 21, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Roland

    Be a christian and all your problems will go away.

    October 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      Jesus never said that your problems will go away. He said his yoke was easy, but to follow him would be difficult.

      October 21, 2010 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      What kind of Christianity have you been reading? there is no end to your deep well of stupidity.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • John Que 3000

      There was this christian guy in Crossville, TN. On day he got so drunk that his preacher called him the devil and said he was stealing a soul that wasn't his. This Bible carrying Christian went home, chopped off his hand, cut his tongue out and plucked out an eye for good measure.

      That is what the Bible belt considers a Christian that takes the word of God seriously.

      Then again, he is lucky he didn't have any Gay thoughts, you probably know where I'm going with that, so enough said.

      The worst part of the story is it is 100% true.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. dan morgan

    HEY conchchowder u r a rude idiot. IM GAY AND CHRISTIAN. Be a hero and love a gay kid. And u chowder call me. u R A anti gay wimp

    October 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conchchowder

      I denounce Jesus as my savior in your name. Your "hate" over my "comment" (which merely pointed out that typing in all caps is rude). I would rather spend an eternity in hell than a moment in heaven with someone so mean as yourself. Again, I renounce Jesus as my savior, in your name, because of your hate.

      October 21, 2010 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. dan morgan

    U FOLKS R ANTI CHRISTEN. SOME OF U R. IM GAY AND CHRISTIAN AND PROUD. GOD LOVES U GAY CHILDREN. U R PERFECT MY GAY BABIES. WE LOVE U TOO. LOVE THE TRUE CHRISTIAN WORLD. WE LOVE U.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      that's right dan. Don't let secularism be the replacement for what is YOUR religion, and YOUR god who loves YOU exactly as you were made. Take that pulpit of moral high ground and use it, because we have lots of scientific witnesses. We need more from the flock.

      October 21, 2010 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. dan morgan

    LOVE U SEANNA SOTO. GOD BLESS U

    October 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IM-Flower

    The issue of gay teens getting more attention for being bullied, goes a little deeper than the school yard. Gay people are bullied by the government that won't let them serve openly and the media that feels the need to post yet another gay scandal on the tabloid covers to get attention. No one should be bullied... No one should be bullied by society! Love and Light

    October 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GAY REPUBLICAN

    BE A HERO STRAIGHT FOLKS and love a gay kid. SAVE A LIFE.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      Amen !!!! Glad to see someone with some sense.

      October 21, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. GAY REPUBLICAN

    thank u IM-flower. u are smart. GAY KIDS AND ADULTS live in a world of hate and danger. THIS IS AMERICA and alot of u are gay peoples TALIBAN. YES U R OUR TERRORISTS WHEN U ABUSE US AND OUR GAY CHILDREN TO THE POINT OF SUICIDE. GOD HELP US

    October 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
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