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. anon


    October 21, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Carrie

    My daughter was chosen for a special honor at her high school. She was told that she must wear an all-black dress in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion. I was so proud of her. To top off that beautiful, black dress she wore a large purple bow in her hair and stood up proudly in front of the 900 students at her school! Love is wonderful. <3

    October 21, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Carrie

    People: Nasty comments to anyone is a form of belittling. Please just ignore those with a differing opinion. You only keep their comments alive by replying to them. Let us stand together in our support, and by ignoring those who don't stand with us we will allow them the karma of standing alone...

    October 21, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Maxwell

    My little sister, as part of her school's GSA, spent her fourth hour class going around to class and bringing awareness about Spirit Day to the rooms.
    The next day over half of her school's student body (which would be roughly 1,500) and the majority of the staff showed up sporting something purple.
    She took pictures. It was beautiful.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Serge

    I say no to GAY people!

    October 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hero

    hell NO! anti-gay is a good thing

    October 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
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