Today is Spirit Day, GLAAD’s annual antibullying campaign in support of LGBTQ young people. Individuals, politicians, celebrities, companies, and even buildings around the world are going purple to send a message of solidarity with this vulnerable demographic, far more likely to be bullied than their straight peers.
The Democratic presidential candidates are among those who sent these messages. Below, hear Sen. Kamala Harris, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Cory Booker support LGBTQ youth, take a stand against bullying, and outline how they will help end this epidemic of harassment.
"To all the LGBTQ youth who are experiencing bullying, first and foremost, know that as painful and as difficult as it may be, you are not alone. You are loved. You are seen. You have support. You have people that believe in you. Yes, we all have to endure outrageous assaults from time to time, but persevere. Press on. Reach out. Because we have so much more strength than the small weakness being shown by any bullies."
"Be strong. Be yourself. Know that it gets better. It’s tough to be a student, to be a young person, even if it doesn’t come with the added challenge of being LGBTQ. You need to know that you’re not alone. When I was in high school, there was literally not one out person that I knew of in my high school. When you do speak up, when you’re willing to be yourself, which is not an easy thing, know that you’re having an impact on other people that are looking at you and you may not even realize it. … Take strength in the face that there are a whole bunch of people around the world cheering you on that have never even met you."
"You are not alone, and I and so many of us will always stand with you. That’s really important to remember: You are not alone. So do not ever silently suffer, and know that you are deserving of respect and dignity and safety, and we will always fight for that. Let’s know that we just have to fight for each other and with each other, and I will always stand with you."
"You have friends. You have people that have your back. … The second thing is, we got to stop [bullying]. And the way you stop it is from the top with the rhetoric. You don’t want a president that’s going after trans people and saying they can’t serve in the military when they want to. That’s just wrong. You don’t want a secretary of Education like Betsy DeVos — I’d get rid of her day one — that does not respect LGBTQ rights. And then it goes deeper. We’ve got to make sure we have counselors and mental health help. Right now we only have 64 public mental health beds in the state of Iowa. And we’ve seen an increase in suicides, not just for LGBTQ youth. But also for veterans and farmers and it’s really time that we get on this. … You’ve got friends that have your back. There is another day. And we just have to get through this president and the sun will come out."