What makes Spirit Day such an important day? This article is based on a previously written Dutch article I wrote in 2021 for “Purple Friday,” the Dutch equivalent of Spirit Day, as it is known in the Netherlands. In 2023 I decided to also add an English version to this website.
In 2010, it was Brittany McMillan who believed that a day was needed to draw attention to young people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. The reason for this was the bullying and the increasing rise in suicides that had taken place the year before in her country of residence (Canada). One of the events that impressed McMillan was the suicide of Tyler Clementi on September 22, 2010. Clementi was secretly filmed by his roommate Dharun Ravi kissing someone. Ravi posted the footage showing Clementi kissing another boy on Twitter. Ravi worked together with Molly Wei. The two eventually had to answer to a court for their actions. It did not go much further than a violation of privacy.De eerste editie die McMillan organiseerde vond plaats op woensdag 20 oktober 2010. Later werd dat donderdag 20 oktober 2011. Vervolgens werd het vrijdag 19 oktober 2012. Vanaf 2013 werd besloten om de dag plaats te laten vinden op de derde donderdag van oktober. McMillan kreeg hierbij steun van Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Spirit = Purple
The idea was simple: purple in the Pride Flag equals spirit. So McMillan asked everyone on Spirit Day to put on something purple. This is to show support to anyone who needs it. “Paarse Vrijdag”
Since 2010 there has been an exception in the world and it takes place in the Netherlands. Spirit Day is known there as “Purple Friday.” When you translate that, it means Purple Friday. The message is the same: a safe day for everyone who needs it. More and more schools and universities are participating in this day. Not only that, but the business community is also participating. This also applies to other parts of the world. In this way, they want to show that it is not normal that you are bullied, humiliated or discriminated against because of your sexual orientation. They also want to show that it is not normal for people to use violence against people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
As long as it is not yet normal that you can be who you want or need to be, the importance of Spirit Day is enormous. This day should not be there. It should be normal. Some say it just isn’t. As long as those people are around, days like this are much needed. So, on to the next Spirit Day!