Are You Wearing Purple Today?

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If you're noticing a lot more royally-hued clothing around you today, it's a good thing. Today's been declared Spirit Day, when people can show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths who suffer bullying in school.

Today's purple-fest is the brainchild of Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan. She created the event through her site on Tumblr, and people spread it through Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

A recent rash of suicides by bullied LGBT young people has led to an outpouring of support --notably syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage's month-old "It Gets Better" project, a YouTube channel where LGBT adults and allies tell kids that the cruelty of middle school doesn't last forever, and that it gets better. Videos from celebrities like Savage and Project Runway's Tim Gunn and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stand alongside testimony from regular people across the country.

Last year, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found, in its National School Climate Survey, that nine out of ten LGBT kids felt harassed at school and that two-thirds of them felt unsafe.

Wearing purple today is a small thing, and it's not going to bring back any of the kids who took their lives after being shamed and tortured for who they were. But it's a start, and a simple way to identify yourself as an ally.

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