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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.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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