What's with all the purple? It's Spirit Day, and it's not too late to get involved.

Here's why it's worth 'going purple' this Thursday.

In 2010, high schooler Brittany McMillan organized the first Spirit Day, a way for allies to stand up to LGBT bullying.

She teamed up with LGBT media advocacy group GLAAD to help spread the word, urging people to show solidarity with LGBT youth and send an anti-bullying message by wearing purple on a specific date in October. Since its founding, Spirit Day — which is now an annual event on the third Thursday in October — has become an international movement celebrated by millions of people around the world.


But c'mon, it's not like it's that hard being an LGBT student these days, right? Well...

More than half of LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. Nearly 75% of these students have been verbally harassed, and 36% have been physically harassed for being LGBT.


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me, though, right?

Wrong.

According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)'s 2013 National School Climate Survey, hostile school experiences have a very real, lasting effect on students. Verbal harassment has been linked to lower grades and self-esteem and a higher risk of depression, and it makes it less likely that students will go on to college.

Getting called anti-LGBT slurs can take a real toll on someone. GIFs via GLAAD.

And sometimes, it's easy to feel like you're all alone in the world.

But that's just kids being kids, right? Surely teachers and school staff have their backs, right? Not really.

"It's a Christian school. The teacher didn't care, and even told kids to watch out for me because she thought I would turn them gay," an Alabama high school senior told GLSEN in the survey.

More than 60% of the time, school staff ignored reports of anti-LGBT harassment by students. The harasser received any form of punishment only less than 20% of the time. Most disturbingly, in roughly 10% of reports, the student doing the reporting was the one disciplined. (WTF?)

Sometimes, anti-LGBT discrimination is built right into school policy.

Just this week, a suburban Chicago school district defied the federal government by banning a trans student from using the restroom, citing privacy and safety issues — even though there's absolutely zero evidence that a trans student poses any sort of threat.

Spirit Day is an important reminder to vulnerable LGBT youth that they aren't alone, that they have support.

It's a chance for students, teachers, friends, family, and really just anyone who's against treating people differently because of their gender or sexuality to show a visible sign of support.

Whether you're able to show your support in person by wearing purple or just online (yes, there's an app for that), Spirit Day is a quick way to say, "Hey, I've got your back."

Solidarity! Support!

Interested in learning how you can be a part of Spirit Day? Visit GLAAD's website or watch the video below.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular