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Nation Goes Purple To Support Gay Youth

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Tyler Clementi - Photo: CBS

Tyler Clementi (credit: CBS)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The recent death of a Rutgers University student has, in part, helped inspire people across the country to wear purple Wednesday.

The “Go Purple” movement is meant to call attention to the deaths of six teenagers who committed suicide after being taunted because of their sexual orientation.

Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan created a Facebook page for “Spirit Day” hoping to bring awareness to the recent suicides. Not only did the event garner thousands of followers, and other similar events on Facebook — including a page that had nearly two million participants, but other organizations also joined in on the movement.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says the event will also show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.

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.

Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide last month after his roommate and another student allegedly used a webcam to stream online video of him in a romantic encounter with another man.

In New York City, FIERCE, a membership-based organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth of color, will rally in front of City Hall on Wednesday to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to name October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month.

In a press release, the group said they will be joined by New York State Senator Tom Duane, Councilmember Daniel Dromm, and other elected officials to create a space for LGBTQ youth to speak out about recent incidents, talk about solutions they want to see, and how to achieve these changes.

In a video message posted on Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“First of all, hang in there, and ask for help,” Clinton said. “Your life is so important to your family, your friends and to your country.”

“There’s so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions,” Clinton said. “These opportunities will increase, because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality.”

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