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Spirit Day: Remember Those Who Are Gone


Prince Imrahil

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SpiritDay.jpg

I should have written this this morning, but better late than never.

I am sure you all have heard about the rash of suicides that have been the result of anti-gay bullying over the last few months. Today is the day that we remember them. I encourage everyone to recognize Spirit Day by wearing the colour purple and/or changing their Facebook profile pictures to the picture above.

No one should be subject to bullying to the point that the commit suicide. We should all promote a culture where differences are celebrated, not ridiculed, and people can be themselves.

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The only purple I have to wear is the rainbow bracelet I got at the Pride Festival this summer, but I haven't taken it off so I'm doing what I can.

It's terrible that a day such as this needs to exist, but as it does, I will support it wholeheartedly.

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If people were actually concerned with this, they would know that changing your profile picture is utterly useless. If you want to actually do something, to actually do some good, donate your time or your money to a worthwhile cause, a charity, a glbt organization of some sort.

That's how you do something good and something worthwhile.

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If people were actually concerned with this, they would know that changing your profile picture is utterly useless. If you want to actually do something, to actually do some good, donate your time or your money to a worthwhile cause, a charity, a glbt organization of some sort.

That's how you do something good and something worthwhile.

Not everyone has the time or money to contribute. Not everyone knows where to start helping. Raising awareness of an issue could bring it to the attention of someone who does have the resources to make more tangible efforts.

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Not everyone has the time or money to contribute. Not everyone knows where to start helping. Raising awareness of an issue could bring it to the attention of someone who does have the resources to make more tangible efforts.

The problem is that 99% of the people who do that sort of thing on facebook or elsewhere believe that it's making a difference and it's not. And worse yet, they think that all they have to do is change a profile picture or tie a ribbon up or wear a colour or a wristband and that they're doing all they can do, when really they're not doing anything.

People who want to make a difference are actually trying to make a difference, people who want to look like they care are changing their profile pictures.

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The problem is that 99% of the people who do that sort of thing on facebook or elsewhere believe that it's making a difference and it's not. And worse yet, they think that all they have to do is change a profile picture or tie a ribbon up or wear a colour or a wristband and that they're doing all they can do, when really they're not doing anything.

People who want to make a difference are actually trying to make a difference, people who want to look like they care are changing their profile pictures.

I agree that there are a lot of people who could me doing more, but it's better than nothing. If it's either change your Facebook picture or not do anything, then yes, please, change your facebook picture and at the very least show your support for worthy issue. If there's even a chance that you could make just one of your friends aware of the issue when they hadn't been previously, then I think it's entirely worth it.

Should people be thinking "What else can I do to help?" Yes. Should people be discouraged from doing something small? Not one bit.

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I agree that there are a lot of people who could me doing more, but it's better than nothing. If it's either change your Facebook picture or not do anything, then yes, please, change your facebook picture and at the very least show your support for worthy issue. If there's even a chance that you could make just one of your friends aware of the issue when they hadn't been previously, then I think it's entirely worth it.

Should people be thinking "What else can I do to help?" Yes. Should people be discouraged from doing something small? Not one bit.

I disagree, I think it's about as effective as doing nothing is.

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Half the people wearing such images probably wouldn't step up to the plate to stop the bullying anyway if they saw it. Ever see that show 'What would you do?' You think you will, but when it happens you just walk right on by.

So in fact it's less than useless, it's frequently just a method of self-promotion online, where you stand there saying 'look at me, how good of a person I am!' Which when you think about it, is actually particularly distasteful.

Think of it like when a company slaps a breast cancer logo on their product so that you buy it; it's designed to improve reputation while driving sales, not raise awareness (Everyone under the sun is aware of breast cancer by now). Except in this case there's not even token sums of cash going to some charity. It's all self servicing. To the point where it even clears their own conscious, making up for the last time they just walked by.

That's not to say the above applies to everyone, but I'd venture to guess it's a large sum that this applies to. Which tarnishes the few honest folks. So here's the breaks: You want to make a difference, do something IRL. Stand outside a church with a picket sign or something, put your ass on the line to make a statement. And don't just walk by when you see bullying of any kind, not just the homophobic breed. Do something that takes balls if you want to draw attention to the issue. Clicking a few buttons from the comfort of your swivel chair does not.

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If you see someone getting bullied and you don't agree with it, then help them out even if it means ending up getting in a fight, but I don't think wearing a ribbon or specific color on a day will have any meaningful effect. If you want to help people do so through actions that might actually be helpful, telling everyone who cares about the issue to do something meaningless instead isn't going to accomplish much of anything.

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Imagine a 14 year old gay kid. He doesn't have any money to donate to a charity. He isn't really old enough to be going to protests by himself, and while his parents know that he is gay they don't really support it. He can't stand up for kids he sees bullied at school because he knows he'll just become a target if he does, and he's really shy and awkward so he can't figure out how to reach out to these kids in person. He thinks that if he changes his facebook picture and posts a little status update about it, he can at least show support in some way. Maybe someone on his friends list who is a bullying victim will see it and feel encouraged. At least it's something that he can do instead of sitting around and wishing there was something he can do. Then he reads the comments of this blog, and is told that even the one thing that he can do is still worthless, and he shouldn't even bother.

Are you such pessimists that you can't think of a single situation where this could do some good? Or worse, do you think "Well it's not very likely to help, so why bother?" Yes there are other things that are going to be vastly more effective at causing change, but encouraging people to do a small thing isn't mutually exclusive with doing something bigger. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and find a charity to donate to. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and start an outreach group. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and think "Hey, maybe I'm not alone and I don't need to kill myself."

And one last thing: There is no such thing as "enough" awareness.

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Imagine a 14 year old gay kid. He doesn't have any money to donate to a charity. He isn't really old enough to be going to protests by himself, and while his parents know that he is gay they don't really support it. He can't stand up for kids he sees bullied at school because he knows he'll just become a target if he does, and he's really shy and awkward so he can't figure out how to reach out to these kids in person. He thinks that if he changes his facebook picture and posts a little status update about it, he can at least show support in some way. Maybe someone on his friends list who is a bullying victim will see it and feel encouraged. At least it's something that he can do instead of sitting around and wishing there was something he can do. Then he reads the comments of this blog, and is told that even the one thing that he can do is still worthless, and he shouldn't even bother.

Are you such pessimists that you can't think of a single situation where this could do some good? Or worse, do you think "Well it's not very likely to help, so why bother?" Yes there are other things that are going to be vastly more effective at causing change, but encouraging people to do a small thing isn't mutually exclusive with doing something bigger. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and find a charity to donate to. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and start an outreach group. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and think "Hey, maybe I'm not alone and I don't need to kill myself."

And one last thing: There is no such thing as "enough" awareness.

The ribbon and this Spirit Day might bring more attention to gay people if people realize what the ribbon the means, but wearing that ribbon if he goes to school with homophobes could just get him beat again and picked on more without accomplishing much. I think there is already a seperate gay pride day, so I think having a second gay pride day to mourn over gays and lesbians who have died isn't needed. I don't see why they don't make it a day to mourn for all people who have committed suicide due to bullying, making it exclusive to gays makes it seem another day is getting dedicated to gay awareness when its not needed. If gay people start wanting to be treated differently and get special attention since they are gay, maybe they'll get special attention not in the way they would want.

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The ribbon and this Spirit Day might bring more attention to gay people if people realize what the ribbon the means, but wearing that ribbon if he goes to school with homophobes could just get him beat again and picked on more without accomplishing much. I think there is already a seperate gay pride day, so I think having a second gay pride day to mourn over gays and lesbians who have died isn't needed. I don't see why they don't make it a day to mourn for all people who have committed suicide due to bullying, making it exclusive to gays makes it seem another day is getting dedicated to gay awareness when its not needed. If gay people start wanting to be treated differently and get special attention since they are gay, maybe they'll get special attention not in the way they would want.

Well, there wasn't a ribbon - people were just encouraged to wear purple, but that's beside the point.

Gay pride days/festivals/parades are not about "gay awareness", it's about celebrating different lifestyles, and being proud of who you are, whether it be gay, straight, or other.

Spirit Day is meant to raise awareness of a very specific problem, homophobic bullying, that has been illustrated quite vividly in the last few months. Bullying of any sort is deplorable, but GLBT teens have a number of other pressures working against them at the same time. I agree that there should be a day for kids who commit suicide due to bullying regardless of sexual orientation, but that doesn't make this day any less valid.

I think I can safely say that the gay community doesn't want to be treated differently or get special attention. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The fact is that they are being treated differently right now, and that is the problem.

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Imagine a 14 year old gay kid. He doesn't have any money to donate to a charity. He isn't really old enough to be going to protests by himself, and while his parents know that he is gay they don't really support it. He can't stand up for kids he sees bullied at school because he knows he'll just become a target if he does, and he's really shy and awkward so he can't figure out how to reach out to these kids in person. He thinks that if he changes his facebook picture and posts a little status update about it, he can at least show support in some way. Maybe someone on his friends list who is a bullying victim will see it and feel encouraged. At least it's something that he can do instead of sitting around and wishing there was something he can do. Then he reads the comments of this blog, and is told that even the one thing that he can do is still worthless, and he shouldn't even bother.

Are you such pessimists that you can't think of a single situation where this could do some good? Or worse, do you think "Well it's not very likely to help, so why bother?" Yes there are other things that are going to be vastly more effective at causing change, but encouraging people to do a small thing isn't mutually exclusive with doing something bigger. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and find a charity to donate to. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and start an outreach group. Maybe someone will see one of these pictures and think "Hey, maybe I'm not alone and I don't need to kill myself."

And one last thing: There is no such thing as "enough" awareness.

Never once said not to bother, I said to get off your ass and actually make a difference. Quite the opposite of "don't bother to do anything."

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Never once said not to bother, I said to get off your ass and actually make a difference. Quite the opposite of "don't bother to do anything."

When you say that what might be someone's only possible avenue of doing anything is "about as effective as doing nothing is" then I don't see much of a difference.

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Guys, other than the importance of any message going out, what you forget is that this is also important to people being harassed. I mean imagine an isolated dude, like the ones that ended up in suicide. Seeing something like this getting broad support would help him see that he is not alone and that he shouldn't despair :).

To this let me add that taking part in such actions does not prevent you from taking part in other kind of actions too. Signing a petition does not prevent you from going to a march, or from writing in a newspaper or from getting in a fight. It's not like one has to chose. When people fight for their rights, they can and should use all means.

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Well, there wasn't a ribbon - people were just encouraged to wear purple, but that's beside the point.

Gay pride days/festivals/parades are not about "gay awareness", it's about celebrating different lifestyles, and being proud of who you are, whether it be gay, straight, or other.

Spirit Day is meant to raise awareness of a very specific problem, homophobic bullying, that has been illustrated quite vividly in the last few months. Bullying of any sort is deplorable, but GLBT teens have a number of other pressures working against them at the same time. I agree that there should be a day for kids who commit suicide due to bullying regardless of sexual orientation, but that doesn't make this day any less valid.

I think I can safely say that the gay community doesn't want to be treated differently or get special attention. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The fact is that they are being treated differently right now, and that is the problem.

I don't have a problem with Spirit Day, but I don't think we need more days dedicated to bullying. However if Spirit Day was dedicated to bullying non-gays as well it would have a wider appeal and probably more effective. I think having a bunch of separate days for different types of people getting bullied would be excessive, although you and others wearing purple should be serving as a reminder that you should be doing something, but if you just wear the purple and don't do anything beyond that, its kind of like wearing green on St Patricks Day imo.

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When you say that what might be someone's only possible avenue of doing anything is "about as effective as doing nothing is" then I don't see much of a difference.

Really? Perhaps I can have a dictionary sent to you, because saying something is as effective as doing nothing and telling people not to bother with doing anything are quite different, especially since I said to actually go out and make a difference, which would mean that I said to get out there and actually do something.

I'm not arguing against spirit day, I'm not your enemy here, so don't treat me like one.

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Which word would you have him look up in said dictionary? I would totally test ktarthan's vocabulary if I were you...he obviously speaks like a twelve year old and is worthy of insults to his intelligence.

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Really? Perhaps I can have a dictionary sent to you, because saying something is as effective as doing nothing and telling people not to bother with doing anything are quite different, especially since I said to actually go out and make a difference, which would mean that I said to get out there and actually do something.

I'm not arguing against spirit day, I'm not your enemy here, so don't treat me like one.

I am talking about in a specific instance where someone is literally unable to do anything else. I know you're saying that people should go out and make a difference instead, but what if it is beyond their faculties to do so? What do you think they feel when someone says their only possible course of action is as effective as doing nothing? (Not to mention the fact that it really isn't as effective as doing nothing, when you consider the examples I gave of situations where it could make an appreciable difference)

Edit:

Guys, other than the importance of any message going out, what you forget is that this is also important to people being harassed. I mean imagine an isolated dude, like the ones that ended up in suicide. Seeing something like this getting broad support would help him see that he is not alone and that he shouldn't despair :).

To this let me add that taking part in such actions does not prevent you from taking part in other kind of actions too. Signing a petition does not prevent you from going to a march, or from writing in a newspaper or from getting in a fight. It's not like one has to chose. When people fight for their rights, they can and should use all means.

I'd like to commend you as someone who gets it. Or at least, shares my point of view. Thank you.

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