The cast and crew of the gay conversion therapy drama, Boy Erased took a stand against bullying on Spirit Day. Stars Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges and writer/director Joel Edgerton showed their support by rocking matching purple tee-shirts.
Since 2010, the third Thursday of October has been observed as Spirit Day. The worldwide LGBTQ awareness campaign was started by teenager Brittany McMillan in response to a series of suicides that year of gay students prompted by bullying. McMillan said about the event, “Ultimately, I want Spirit Day to make just one person feel a little bit better about his or herself, to feel safe enough in their own skin to be proud of who they are.” One of those tragedies was the loss of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University.
Spirit Day has been embraced and promoted by GLAAD, and is commemorated by participants wearing purple in support of LGBTQ youth and to memorialize suicide victims. The third Thursday in October was chosen to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month.
October 19 marks the seventh year of Spirit Day, and a wonderful array of friends and supporters are planning to make public statements and appearances and to “go purple”: Celine Dion, Nico Tortorella, Halsey, Jimmy Kimmel, Britney Spears, Whoopi Goldberg, Olivia Newton-John, Fergie, Christina Aguilera, Lily Tomlin and Wanda Sykes, as well as Kellogg’s mascots Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and Snap, Crackle and Pop of Rice Krispies cereal fame. Younger star Nico Tortorella is already voicing words of wisdom and inspiration.
“I was bullied as a kid throughout middle school,” the actor told HuffPost. “I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office. My principal Dr. Reed transitioned from male to female the summer before eighth grade. She taught me invaluable lessons on being unapologetically unconditionally true to myself. Every day I channel her strength as well as countless other role models I’ve had in the LGBTQIA+ community.”