GLAAD launches official Spirit Day Kit, anti-bullying resources for teachers, parents, and students with support of PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, Comcast-NBCUniversal, American Eagle Outfitters

New York, Friday, September 5, 2014 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today launched the countdown to Spirit Day, the largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world that supports LGBT youth.

Spirit Day, which will take place on October 16, inspires millions to wear purple or ‘go purple’ online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its national partners PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, as well as official partner Comcast-NBCUniversal, and supporting partner American Eagle Outfitters.

For more information about Spirit Day, visit www.glaad.org/spiritday

“As we continue to make historic gains for equality in this country, LGBT youth are still facing startlingly disproportionate rates of bullying at school,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By wearing purple for Spirit Day on October 16, we can send a powerful message to young people everywhere that it’s okay to be who you are. Bullying simply won’t be tolerated.”

“Spirit Day celebrates the values of respect and inclusion, which are among PepsiCo’s guiding principles,” said Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America Division. “Our sponsorship of Spirit Day and partnership with GLAAD reflects these shared values.”

“Our communities are stronger when all students can learn without fear of being bullied at school, and wearing purple on Spirit Day is just one of the ways we can all help raise awareness and build visibility for this important issue,” said John Lake, LGBT Segment Leader for Wells Fargo & Company. “At Wells Fargo, we believe in making significant commitments that have a real impact, and as a strong, longtime supporter of LGBT anti-bullying efforts and of GLAAD, we are committed to sending a message of solidarity and acceptance to LGBT youth.”

To mark the countdown to Spirit Day and the back-to-school season, GLAAD today also launched critical anti-bullying bullying resources for educators, parents, and students. GLAAD’s ARK (Anti-bullying Resource Kit) provides tools and information for teachers that help keep bullying out of the classroom, and help both teachers and parents support LGBT young people. Also launched today, GLAAD’s Spirit Day Kit helps people of all ages bring Spirit Day to their community, including schools and local media outlets. GLAAD’s anti-bullying resources are available here: www.glaad.org/spiritday

Millions wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. With GLAAD’s help, Spirit Day has since garnered widespread support from celebrities, TV news and entertainment programs, corporations, organizations, schools, local communities, and even national landmarks. Spirit Day coincides with GLSEN’s Ally Week, as well as National Bullying Prevention Month.

According to GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 43.9% because of their gender expression. GLSEN also reported that 81.9% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% because of their gender expression.

Previous Spirit Day participants include The White House, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Shaquille O’Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more. For more information, visit www.glaad.org/spiritday

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About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT equality. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to positive change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, visit www.glaad.org.