Students tell of inclusive experience of Wear It Purple Day

Young rainbow people and their supporters joined together on Friday evening to celebrate the launch of Wear It Purple’s 2016 short video to support the celebration of Wear It Purple Day.

The audience heard from speakers who shared their personal accounts of how Wear It Purple Day has made a positive change in their school or lives, setting the course for a more inclusive learning environment.

Student, Ava, explained that being involved in Wear It Purple has created a community of people that she can feel part of, and assists in creating more inclusive and accepting school environments for students who feel alone and isolated.

High School teacher, Alex, related her experience of starting Wear It Purple day as a way to “be the person you needed when you were younger.” Alex said that, “Our first Wear It Purple Day was probably one of the most frightening experiences of my teaching career. Because so much was unknown. Were the students going to embrace it, what were the parents reactions to the cause going to be? I remember driving down the driveway into the school thinking please, dear god, some of you be wearing purple. To my surprise, and I’m constantly surprised, it was a sea of purple accessories.”

Alex went on to explain that the visibility and inclusion that Wear It Purple day gave to rainbow young people and their allies at her school, led to students having a voice, the creation of a support and mentor group for LGBTIQ+ students and their allies which have lead a number of inclusive activities in the school – including the organisation of this year’s Wear It Purple Day.

This year, Wear It Purple will be held this Friday, with many people around the nation wearing purple to show their support for sex, sexuality and gender diverse young people, and planning activities to creating opportunities to discussion about why visual support of young rainbow people is so important.  

Research shows that bullying and discrimination against rainbow young people in schools has increased over time. This can result in reduced participation at school, reduced wellbeing and poor health and educational outcomes.

The video launched by Wear It Purple features young people sharing their experiences about what would have made a difference for them when they were younger, to the best thing about being proud of who they are. Young person, Mik, explains what Wear It purple means to them saying, “I have a chance to make a difference on not just one day of the year, but every day of the year.”

Just as it did at Alex’s school, celebrating Wear It Purple Day can contribute to a more inclusive school culture throughout the year. The event, and the lead up to it, can be used as an extended opportunity to discuss ways to embrace diversity in your school community, and increase awareness of the issues faced by sexuality and gender diverse young people.

Wear it Purple’s Operations Officer, Naomi, said: “Wear it Purple seeks to empower young people to be proud of who they are. Putting any personal opinion aside, at the heart of this is respect; a universal notion.

“As Wear it Purple Day continues to develop each year, it is a positive indication that many schools, tertiary institutions, community organizations and workplaces are working together to create a world in which rainbow young people can feel safe and supported, irrespective of whom they love, or how they define themselves.”

Wear It Purple are encouraging people to share their messages of support and Wear It Purple activities on social media this Friday at www.facebook.com/wearitpurple, via Instagram @wear_it_purple, on Twitter @wearitpurple and with Tumblr at www.wearitpurple.tumblr.com

To register a Wear It Purple event or for more information, schools, educational institutions and workplaces are encouraged to visit www.wearitpurple.org.  

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