‘Wear It Purple’ for queer teens

October 8, 2010
Image: Wearitpuple/Facebook

October 15 is Wear It Purple Day. Please make and wear a purple armband to show support for queer teens at risk of suicide.

For young Australians, suicide is the second most common cause of death after traffic accidents. There is evidence that 30% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens in Australia attempt suicide. This is a shocking statistic and a disgraceful state of affairs.

Last week, we were all reminded of this ongoing tragedy when a teenage US student, Tyler Clementi, was driven to take his life — the fourth US teenager to suicide that week after being horrendously bullied because of their sexuality.

I’m a 17 year old high school student. At my school, most teachers and students respect each other’s sexuality even if it is different to their own. But students at some other schools are not so lucky. Their difference is not respected, fingers are pointed and kids are bullied. I believe something has to be done.

This situation of intolerance and ignorance cannot continue. Young people are having their future and dreams cruelly ripped away from them by this endemic hate in our society.

In Australia, on average 2500 people commit suicide each year. The rate of suicide has fallen in the last decade, but more than 200 young people aged 15-24 will still suicide this year. Suicide accounts for about 20% of youth deaths and gay youth are on the government’s high risk list for suicides.

Australia’s attitude of ignorance or “she’ll be right mate” to mental health contributes to young people feeling hated and alone.

Cyber-bullying is a new form of hate crime described by the Australian Institute of Criminology as crime that sends “a message of fear and terror based in bigotry”.

Unlike playground bullying where oppressors can be left behind at the school gate, cyber-bullying follows victims home and into their bedrooms.

By wearing a purple armband on Wear It Purple Day, you will show support. It doesn’t matter how you do it: tie it, draw it, lipstick it or tattoo it. Wear purple to tell queer teens that they’re accepted and not alone. We need to take action to change society’s attitude and stop the deaths.

So please make and wear a purple armband on October 15 to support gay teens at risk. You can also befriend us on Facebook (Wearit Purple) or follow us on Twitter (WearItPurple). Or email wearitpurple@gmail.com .

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