Over 35 local celebrities have taken the pledge to wear purple against LGBT bullying on the 19th of October, marked as Spirit Day.
Spirit Day is a day when millions of people wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
It was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan in honour of LGBT teens who committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying. The day is marked by individuals, corporations and organisations in the US.
Now, local entertainment blogger Mika Stefano – backed by American LGBT media and gay rights group GLAAD – has spearheaded the South African leg of the campaign and has gotten our very own celebrities to take part.
Photographer Theo Van Der Mewer of Issued Productions agreed to be the official photographer and captured some of South Africa’s most celebrated young celebrities in purple for the campaign.
Mariechan of Jamali was the first to take her pledge, followed by Andrew Govender (Mr South Africa) who is taking part in Mr. World on the 19th October.
Mr South Africa, Andrew Govender
Local gay icons Koyo Bala, Amstel, Sade, DJ Olwee and Bujy all added flair to the campaign. Hip hop heavy weight, L-Tido, Generations heart throb, Anga Makubalo, Vuzu and Channel O presenters Lalla, Dineo and SK, models Reeva Steenkamp, Tshego Seakgoe and Frisco Babalana, TV personalities and socialites Lehasa Moloi, LeeRoy Wright, Learto Kganyago, Lerato Sengadi and Eda Rose, DJ’sSnoop, MsCosmo and Capital, musician LeAnne and VTheVowel as well as Miss SA Teen, Celeste Khumalo, were some of the straight celebrities who also took the pledge to wear purple on the 19th October.
“We’re thrilled to see Spirit Day touch people across the globe” said Seth Adam, Senior Manager of Communications at GLAAD. International faces that have supported the campaign in the past include Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Even though South Africa is the only African country that protects our rights as gay and lesbian people, we are still faced with various hate crimes on a day to day basis,” said Stefano.
“Children need to learn that there is nothing wrong with being gay and if their favourite celebrities stand up and say they are cool with their gay friends, then that may cause a ripple effect and influence the thought patterns of our youth”.
Anyone can take part in Spirit Day. People are encouraged to wear something purple and/or change their social media profile picture to purple on the 19th October as a sign of standing together against bullying.