On Oct. 20, people across the nation wore purple to bring awareness to “homophobic bullying” and remember those who have been affected by it.
Over the past month, the media has highlighted six young men who committed suicide due to their inability to cope with the ongoing pressures of being homosexual.
Students are showing their respects to the families and friends lost.
“Anybody can be the victim of a hate crime and it’s really moving to see so many people who care,” Jacob Jones, sophomore, said.
Some wish they could have spoken to the victims before their passing.
“I would tell them to hold their heads high and be strong,” Elizabeth Petersen, sophomore, said. “Bullies bully because of their own insecurities…Everyone is an individual who deserves respect.”
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, and projects such as “It Gets Better,” which involve people video-logging their support for current young adults struggling with bullying, some even giving their own accounts as a homosexual, have helped create the Wear Purple to Fight Homophobic Bullying Day so others can show their support.
“It’s so sad to think that those young men won’t be able to experience the joys that were ahead of them in life, and I wish that someone had told them to stick it out, that it gets better,” Jones said. “I personally have been in their place, and in that mindset, where I felt like death was the only way out. It’s horrible, but thankfully I had some people who were able to talk some sense into me.”
Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, and Billy Lucas represent how hate can tear a person apart.
“To me, it’s not so much about the color or even the sexuality of the boys,” Crystal Floyd, sophomore, said. “It’s about the fact that people, young people, were tormented by their peers…it was so relentless that their only refuge was in death.”
Their stories have inspired people to spread support and care to others who are still trying to fight.
According to the Facebook page for the day, the color purple was chosen because in the LGBTQ flag, purple represents spirit.