New suicide: Corey Jackson (19)
In addition to millions of ordinary people around the world, American celebrities joined the ‘Spirit Day’ campaign to dress in purple yesterday to highlight the recent spate of gay teen suicides.
This included talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, wearing a purple shirt and tie, who spoke to Joel Burns, an openly gay city councilman from Texas, on her show about his personal experience with bullying.
Other media personalities that took part in the campaign included the hosts of The View, Khloe Kardashian, E! News hosts Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic, singers Darren Hayes, Cyndi Lauper, Jewel, Lance Bass and Ricky Martin, Perez Hilton, Alyssa Milano, Joan Rivers and Vanessa Williams, as well as the cast of Glee.
MTV Networks distributed a memo to all employees with information about Spirit Day and also gave out thousands of purple ribbons to staff, while E! Online turned all their news headlines purple.
Tragically, another gay suicide came to light on Wednesday. Nineteen year old Corey Jackson hung himself on Tuesday night in Michigan. It is believed that he had been struggling with coming out.
“I believe (it happened) because he recently realised he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here,” Jackson’s grandmother, Carolyn Evans, told local media.
The Spirit Day campaign was created on Facebook by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan in honour of Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas; teens who committed suicide following homophobic harassment.
In addition to wearing purple, people were urged to change their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to a purple image.