The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and a host of celebrities are sharing messages of support for LGBTQ youth in honor of Spirit Day.
Started in 2010 by Canadian teen Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day — which is promoted by GLAAD — encourages people to wear purple and show support for LGBTQ youth.
In particular, it focuses on anti-LGBTQ bullying and honors LGBTQ victims of suicide.
GLAAD spoke to several of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination, who shared their thoughts on Spirit Day and messages of support for LGBTQ youth.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first viable openly gay candidate for president, commemorated Spirit Day by noting that when he was in high school, “there was literally not one out person that I knew of.”
“Be strong, be yourself and know that it gets better,” he said to LGBTQ youth, adding, “Take strength in the fact that there are a whole bunch of people around the world cheering you on that have never even met you, that I’m cheering you on, and it does get better.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, told NBC News that Spirit Day is “a megaphone for allies to send a unified message of acceptance and support to LGBTQ youth each year.”
“In today’s divisive culture and political climate,” she said, “LGBTQ people and allies need to be louder than ever to outshine bullies and tell young people that they will always be supported just as they are.”
Other Democratic presidential candidates commemorating Spirit Day included Sen. Kamala Harris, who told LGBTQ youth that they 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,” Harris said, adding, “I and so many of us will always stand with you.”
In a tweet, Harris said, “No one should ever be bullied or harassed because of how they identify or who they love. We are here for you.”
No one should ever be bullied or harassed because of how they identify or who they love. We are here for you. #SpiritDay
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 17, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden said that LGBTQ people are “special” and “incredible” in his message, adding, “You’re as good and better than anybody else, and don’t let people try to tell you you’re not.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar told GLAAD that “we need to stop” anti-LGBTQ bullying and slammed Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military in her Spirit Day video.
She also spoke directly to LGBTQ youth, and said to tell someone if they are being bullied.
“You have friends, and you have people who have your back,” she said. “And you should call when these things happen, and you know you can call.”
Sen. Cory Booker reiterated Harris’ message that LGBTQ youth are “not alone.”
He added: “Persevere, press on, reach out because we have so much more strength than the small weakness being shown by any bullies.”