Write your story on Wear it Purple Day

Today is Wear it Purple Day. Linda Doherty reports.

A graphic of a white heart on a purple background. There are people dancing on the white heart. A graphic of a white heart on a purple background. There are people dancing on the white heart.
Image: Wear it Purple Day started in 2010.

Cakes, fashion, badges and art will turn purple today as schools and workplaces around Australia choose to mark Wear it Purple Day to celebrate the diversity and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ young people.

The colour purple was chosen in 2010 by the Wear it Purple student co-founders as a symbol of unity to bring together people from different backgrounds.

What began as a day to show support for at-risk LGBTQIA+ young people has developed into a celebration and an awareness campaign about the barriers, bullying and discrimination that still exist for LGBTQIA+ young people.

NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said Wear it Purple Day was an opportunity for schools to highlight the importance of fostering supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ young people.

“It is an event that began in our own Burwood Girls High School in 2010 and is now celebrated internationally,” he said.

“Our schools have the opportunity to show support for the LGBTQIA+ young people in their communities and many choose to recognise the day by wearing purple, holding an event or using curriculum-aligned resources to celebrate diversity and promote anti-bullying.”

Katherine Hudson was a Year 11 student at Burwood Girls High School when she teamed up with first-year university student Scott Williams to start the Wear it Purple organisation.

“LGBTQIA+ young people were in crisis. In 2010 there was a spate of rainbow youth suicides in the United States, and in Australia rainbow young people still experienced discrimination and harassment,” Ms Hudson said.

“We decided as young people we had to do something because it was young people who were suffering. We thought that if one day, every year, people visually showed their support then rainbow young people would know they are not alone.

“Since 2010, Wear it Purple has become one of the key advocacy organisations for LGBTQIA+ young people in Australia, and Wear it Purple Day has become one of celebration and amplification of rainbow young people’s voices.”

Wear it Purple president Lara Husselbee said the wearing of purple showed LGBTQIA+ young people that “they are seen, supported and respected, acknowledging that all have the right to be proud of who they are and who they are becoming”.

Some schools today have purple mufti days planned and a DJ performing at lunchtime, while others will invite students to wear a purple accessory with their uniform.

This year’s theme, ‘Write Your Story’, aims to encourage visibility and connection, build communities and create acceptance.

“Wear it Purple strongly believes that by providing space and visibility for these stories from our LGBTQIA+ youth, lives can change and we can move societies to take action,” Miss Husselbee said.

Wear it Purple is a charity steered by a Youth Action Council of young LGBTQIA+ people and their friends.

The NSW Department of Education is committed to an inclusive school system providing safe and supportive learning environments for all students, free from violence, discrimination, harassment and vilification.

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