“75% of Rainbow Youth in Australia have been bullied, 80% of which occurs in schools; Rainbow Kids are 12 times more likely to experience depression, and five times more likely to experience anxiety; and one-in-four LGBTIQ+ young people have attempted suicide – that’s 25% – which is just crazy,” Glen Hare, Treasurer of Wear It Purple, tells A Modern Gay’s Guide.
And it’s harrowing statistics like these that make Wear It Purple so important to queer Australians.
A volunteer-led organisation, Wear It Purple are the brains and the brawn behind Wear It Purple Day, celebrated annually on the last Friday of August, this year on Friday the 26th.
Hare says, “the purpose behind Wear It Purple Day is to celebrate visibility, to support rainbow young people, and to create a safe space in schools, university, workplaces and, obviously, public spaces as well.”
“Wear It Purple Day is the specific day that we celebrate that sense of visibility. Of course the objective is to have that acceptance throughout the entire year, so we do a lot of work with schools, universities and community organisations with the objective of ensuring that Rainbow Youth, as they come to terms with who they are, know that there is an organisation (or broadly, a community) that supports them. And the way we do that is by wearing purple on that specific day.”
Each year, Wear It Purple Day has a specific theme. In 2021, the theme was ‘Start the Conversation…Keep it Going’. In 2022, and in collaboration with the Wear It Purple Youth Action Council, the theme is ‘Still Me, Still Human’.
Elaborating on this year’s theme, Hare says, “This year, the theme is ‘Still Me, Still Human’, with the message being that people tend to focus on labels, on news stories, on targets, on data, and forget the fact that Rainbow Youth are still human.
It’s still painful; there’s a lot going on. But at the crux of it, regardless of how one identifies, they’re still human at their core.”
“So we jumped on this because we feel it encapsulates the message of honesty, integrity, and authenticity, when discussing all diverse identities within the rainbow community. And it just talks to the fact that yes, we’re part of the rainbow community, but we’re also your barista at the local café, we’re retail staff, we’re lawyers, we’re financial advisers, we’re your teachers, we’re your peers. At the core, we’re just human.”
To celebrate Wear It Purple Day, simply don your brightest purple attire. This one small action will signal to LGBTIQ+ people that you’ll stand alongside us in our struggles.
You can also register your school, university, or workplace event on their website, and/or donate to Wear It Purple, where funds raised will provide schools with valuable resources at no cost; ensure their merchandise is affordable for all; allow Wear It Purple to grow their pride events across Australia; and fund new initiatives including participation in Pride events across the country.
To find out more about Wear It Purple, or to donate, visit their website.