LGBT civil rights activists say ultra-conservative pundit Ann Coulter's tweet joking about disowning gay kids highlights the need for national days of action for LGBT youth.
One of those days takes place on Oct. 19 – Spirit Day.
Another, National Coming Out Day, took place on Oct. 11.
Coulter tweeted yesterday: Last Thursday was national "coming out" day. This Monday is national "disown your son" day.
Coulter was joking, observed Aaron McQuade, a representative from GLAAD, but he pointed out that gay kids are disowned by their families when they come out and that's no joke.
McQuade said, "Although we've come a long way from those ideas as a cultural collective, I have no doubt that last week, more than a few American households experienced the tragedy that Ann joked about."
LGBT youth make up an estimated 40 percent of the homeless youth population in the United States and half of all kids who come out experience family rejection.
McQuade said Coulter's joke highlighted the importance of coming out day, but also Spirit Day, a purple-splashed annual observance celebrating LGBT youth and equality.
To show spirit, institutions such as Times Square and the New York Stock Exchange will turn their lights purple. Celebrities, athletes, activists and ordinary citizens will wear purple. And businesses and organizations will color websites and social media pages purple for the campaign coordinated by GLAAD.
On Oct. 10, activist Katy Butler asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to wear purple for Spirit Day. Butler is GLAAD’s Spirit Day ambassador. She’s also the activist who rallied major support to change the rating for “Bully” so that young people actually could see a documentary featuring young people and aimed at teaching young people lessons about tolerance and harassment.
Butler made the call to Obama and Romney in a Change.org petition – the same tool she used for the “Bully” drive.
The growing list of Spirit Day participants includes:
George Takei, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, star of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” Shay Mitchell, daytime talk show host Wendy Williams, Nickelodeon’s Avan Jogia, the Los Angeles Unified School District, AMC Entertainment, AT&T, atelier-lb, Caesars Foundation, Carat, Citi, Delta Air Lines, Draftfcb, Digitas, Facebook, WNBA, NBA, MLS, Hewlett-Packard Company, Johnnye’s East Texas Soul, LBNY, Leo Burnett Business, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Marquee Las Vegas, MediaVest, Omnicom Group, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Publicis Groupe, Saatchi & Saatchi, Southern California Edison, Toyota Financial Services, Warner Bros., Yahoo! and Zenith Optimedia.
Other landmarks to turn purple on Spirit Day include the LAX Pylon Lights and the JFK traffic tower.
Participating groups include the BULLY Project; Campus Pride; CenterLink; Equality Texas; Fair Wisconsin; FriendFactor; Forum for Equality; the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network; GSA Network; Human Rights Campaign; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the National Bullying Prevention Center by PACER; the National Council of La Raza; the National Hispanic Media Coalition; Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Reaching Out MBA; Straight But Not Narrow; The Trevor Project; and Youth Empowered to Act.
For more, go to glaad.org/spiritday.