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. Jessica Naomi

    When Facebook and Twitter stop pimping for the bigots like National Organization for Marriage Inequality and Focus on the Family and all the other theocRATS, giving them a forum for their hate-filled propaganda, and a way for them to raise blood money, then we can start taking a real stand against bullying. NOM and FOF are funding legalized bullying denying equal marriage rights and the right to work and serve in the military. Facebook is running a scam right now telling the LGBT Facebook users that they are with us in our fight against bullying, but that's not true as long as they pimp for the theocRATS. If we really want to take a stand against bullying, that's the place to start – telling Facebook and Twitter to stop pimping for legalized bullying.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. okay

    Didn't you know ? Being gay is cool and trendy,kind of like being black was cool in the late 90's . Its just another trend for the misled youth of this country. Being gay is a choice and you can't convince me otherwise. Now donzt get me wrong. I'm not predjiduce of gays or blacks. I have many gay and black friends. As a matter of fact i know a gay black couple and have dinner with them often. Many of my gay friends were straight before and made the choice to become gay. For all i know they all were. But we don't really discuss such issues. It's just sad that it is being pressed on the youth of America like its a new extreme sport or something. What you do in your own bedroom is your business..just don't press it on me ! Please read "Obama recalls DADT" post ! Then you will understand my point of view a lil more .

    October 21, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      LOL. Wow you're so not a racist! YOU HAVE BLACK PEOPLE OVER FOR DINNER? wow! Who are you trying to convince that you're not a racist? yourself? BEING GAY IS NOT A CHOICE and there are people who are FAR SMARTER than you who have studied the subject intensely and that is the scientific and psychological conesus among the professionals. Your ignorant opinion is based on nothing but fear. It's so obvious to everyone who reads your post, except you. It's just laughable how stupid you are. Read a book.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • NewCoaster

      Ridiculous.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Awhitman

    Please keep your hate to yourself. I've had enough of it.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Roland

    Being gay is a sin

    October 21, 2010 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • scott

      being Roland is a sin.

      October 21, 2010 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You want to know why gay teens need specific attention right now? Just read the comments posted here. Half of them are hate speech. That's exactly why gays need to be told it gets better. That people like half of you dont affect their life after a certain point, and that you're a dying breed of ignorant fools. The teens need to know this, because their life doesn't get to start until they're 18-20. That's not fair. But it's the way it is – for now.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Denny

    There are 612 sins in the Bible and all the Christians break most of them.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. just-me

    hmm... So my comment sparked some things, did it? Well what about other types of bullyings that have always been "accepted as normal"? What about the kids who have been bullied b/c they are goth? Or autistic? Or a different religon? all these so called "freaks". That is accepted as normal too. I mean kids like that are just waiting to be bullied, right? B/c they are so different. And when they try standing up for themselves no one cares. No one cares b/c they are accepted in general society as "wierdos". People are just supporting this whole LGBT thing b/c it's poular now. Quit focusing on a latest trend and focus on the real problem. It all needs to be stopped.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Denny

    It's not a trend, when people make assumptions and based on those assumptions deny you employment because they think you're gay. It's not a trend, when people go out of their way to comment on these issues that have nothing to do with them. Just-Me, your comment holds no water. Gays aren't looking for your acceptance, they are demanding protection from people who support harassment and discrimination. They don't care if you agree with their so-called lifestyle, they are saying that they have the right to live in a harassment and discrimination free world. If that bothers you, you are the problem, and thus I'd support a trend any day over your hate filled ignorance.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • engelaugen

      I happen to know Just-Me. There is NOT a hateful bone in her body! She also knows what it's like to be bullied by other young people, and falsly accused to the point of nearly being thrown in juvenile detetention and considering suicide. She also knows what it's like to stand up for others. She also knows what it's like to have a gay female force herself on her, in a crowded school hall, while a mob of other students gathered around to keep her from being able to get away. This was not because she was hateful to this student or any other gay students. However, it was because she would not "go out" with her. BTW, school administration refused to do anything about it. She also knows what it's like to be looked down upon and descriminated against because of her religious believes. So, no, she is NOT hateful, ignorant, or "the problem". She has seen where some people try to literally force their lifestyle on others who do not believe in the way they live. She has NEVER been hateful to anyone who chooses to live like that. However, if asked, she will say it is something she does not agree with.

      October 21, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gilbert

    Why are so many folks obsessed with gays? This gay piece got more comments then the other CNN stories. It just seems more straights are into gay news then gays. By the way, no, I am NOT gay, thank you.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. JimK

    Wow, and people wonder why I don't do any religion.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. just-me

    thanx engelaugen... U made the point I was saving for later. Don't tell me that I don't know about bullying. Bullying sent me to the hospital, it made a whole school literally turn against where I couldn't even walk the hallways without getting spit on or hit on, it caused me to be expelled pending tribunal and then at the tribunal it came out that everything accused of me was nothing but lies- the result of bullying. It has been the result for many other things, but I do not have the time nor desire to post them. Many other teens out there have experienced what I have experienced. Why do they have to silently suffer? I wish there was some way to start a campaign against bullying completly, not just for one catagory. Now I also know that CNN is simply a trend follower. Not a news reporter.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. just-me

    My comment was no where near hateful, nor ignorant for that matter. You sound a little hateful yourself mr. Denny. I have experienced personally the horror of bullying. It sent me to the hospital. It expelled me out of school on false accusations that came out at the hearing they were indeed false. It got so bad that I couldn't even walk the hallways of my highschool without being spit on or beat up on. It caused me to not even be able to have the privelage of eating in the school cafeteria b/c I could not eat in peace. But this isn't personal testimony time. There are plenty more examples I could give you from my own life, but have niether the time nor desire to do so. And there are so many others that have gone through what I went through. Why must they too suffer silently? Why isn't there special attention on them also? We don't need to individualize those being bullied. It just needs to be stopped. I wish there was a campaign we could start to end all bullying. And I'm sure everyone has been picked on before, but this isn't about being picked on or made fun of, it's about uncontrollable, intolerable bullying. Both physical, emotional and mental.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. just-me

    Oops, didn't mean to post that other one... Just the last one...lol... Btw: great song on anti-bullying by Superchick called "Hero Red Pill remix". Makes a very good statement.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. John Que 3000

    What does Washington DC, Barney Frank have to say about this subject. I seem to remember he almost drove, or rode, a gay intern to suicide, I wonder if he speaks out against Gay Teen Suicide, or the GTS Syndrome?

    October 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. just-me

    eew.... Now that's just extreme. Whay would he do that?

    October 21, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. jayman419

    Just remember it's be A hero, not be AN hero...

    October 21, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
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