I read an article the other day about how a high-school student, near the end of his rope, went to talk to his school counselor. He felt safe because he saw a rainbow flag on her door.
Today he is the president of the student government at a major university. Based on that article, you might say he is thriving.
While there is much to admire about the determination of a young man like Austin Laufersweiler, what stood out to me while reading his story was the power of that sticker. A simple symbol which said, “This is a safe space. I am a safe person.”
How many young people, particularly those wrestling with their identity in the middle and high school years, are searching for their safe space? A safe person in whom to confide? A hand to help hold them up when they feel beaten down.
If it were my son, I’d be so grateful for that counselor and that sticker. For there have been too many searching young souls who didn’t find their sticker, their sign.
I think back to all the students who sat in my classrooms over the years. What would a simple sticker have meant to my students? I can only wonder, as I hadn’t found the courage to publicly stand with them yet.
But today, today I will.
By the simple act of going purple, I hope to say, “I am here. I am a safe person.”
Will you join me?
There are a few simple ways to make a public statement of support:
- Go to Glaad.org and share an image on social media.
- Turn your profile picture purple (see app on Glaad’s website or Facebook or Twitter pages).
- Wear a purple pin, shirt, socks, scarf, or pants if your really feeling fancy.
One final thought. Not only does “Going Purple” say that we stand with LGBT youth, but it also sends a message to those would-be bullies.
When you hurt one, you hurt many. And I, for one, will not stand for it.
Sometimes our actions do speak louder than words. Or at the very least, they might make us think twice about our words.
Will you join me in going purple this Spirit Day?