Tonight, I headed off to my closet to find something purple to wear tomorrow. I was rummaging through every article of clothing and every corner, including the winter boxes, desperate to answer the Facebook call to wear purple on October 20, 2010 to raise awareness about the LGBT Youth Suicide Epidemic and bullying. I stumbled upon a very nice button up I had forgotten I owned. It was an obvious purple, but still conservative enough for a day of business. I headed off to iron it and realized that the long sleeves were not long enough for my arms. Back to the closet I trotted.
This time, my eyes stopped on a scarf that was crocheted for me by my dear friend, Crystal, years ago. The scarf is lined purple and yellow and a bit of an eyesore. I immediately wished I lived further north where wearing a scarf would be justifiable, but with temperatures in the mid-80’s in South Texas, I knew it would stick out like a sore thumb [an expression I never really understood].
I headed back to the ironing board with another button-up in hand. This one was less obviously purple, but still purple. I began ironing it and debating the color. Someone could easily think my shirt was just another shirt. It didn’t seem like it would show that I’m wearing purple for a specific reason. That’s when it occurred to me. Wearing purple just isn’t enough – we need people to know why we are wearing purple.
There was one problem. How was I going to engage people in conversation about the Epidemic with a button up, nicely pressed, purple-ish shirt? The answer was clear – I need to stand out. I need to wear the purple and yellow scarf tomorrow so that people understand that it isn’t just a garment, it is a statement. It is a statement that I will not stop fighting for equality until we are EQUAL. Why? Because I refuse to lie to our LGBT children. I refuse to tell them it gets better without first working to make sure it does.
Tomorrow, I challenge all of you (and myself) to engage at least one person in a conversation about bullying and LGBT Youth Suicides. If you need to borrow my scarf to help jumpstart a conversation, I’m happy to oblige.