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Spirit Day: Wear Purple on October 20 to Raise Awareness of Anti-Gay Bullying, Says GLAAD

Tyler Clementi. Personal Photo

Purple Day: Wear Your Support on Your Sleeve (or Pants, or A**) on Spirit Day, Sept. 20, to Raise Awareness of Anti-Gay Bullying
Tyler Clementi. (Personal Photo)

NEW YORK (CBS) Wednesday Oct. 20 is Spirit Day, the day that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is asking people to "Go Purple" to call attention to the deaths of six teenagers who committed suicide after reportedly being taunted because they were gay.

PICTURES: Tyler Clementi

The story of Tyler Clementi grabbed national headlines last month. Tyler was a freshman at Rutgers University whose roommate, Dharun Ravi, allegedly live-streamed Tyler having sex with another man online.

Tyler's belongings were found on the George Washington Bridge in New York the next day after he reportedly posted a goodbye note on his Facebook page.

Less than a week later Tyler's body was found floating in a nearby river.

Unfortunately, Tyler's story is not unique.

GLAAD says they hope the "Go Purple" event will show other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who face the same pressures and bullying that there is a vast community of people who support them, as well as give a chance to remember those who, like Tyler, have fallen victim to bullying and felt that suicide was their only way out.

One of those being remembered is Justin Aaberg, of Fridley, Minn., a Twin Cities suburb, who was 15 when he hung himself in his room July 9. His last Facebook post said, "If you really knew me, no one would like me," his mother, Tammy, told USA Today.

"We are losing too many kids. This has been kept silent for too long," says Aaberg, 36, who said that when she wears her purple T-shirt that says "End the Hate" on Wednesday, she'll be thinking of her son Justin, according to the paper.

GLAAD's website features a "Wear Purple" page allowing people to turn their profile pictures purple on Facebook or Twitter.

The color was selected because purple symbolizes "spirit" on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

  • Carlin Miller

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