More to Wear It Purple than just a day

Mel Smith
Trade Union Training Officer

It is important to talk about the impact of homophobic bullying and how to combat it

On August 28, people in schools and workplaces across Australia will once again show support for same-sex attracted and gender questioning, or “rainbow” young people by wearing purple. While the day is a celebration to affirm and support sexuality and gender diverse young people, their families and communities, Wear It Purple acknowledges that one day of celebration may raise the profile of this issue but they seek to make more permanent change.

It is important to talk about why people are wearing purple, the impact of homophobic bullying and how to combat it. In the lead-up to Wear It Purple Day last year both the federal and state education ministers made statements in support of Wear It Purple Day and highlighted the importance of creating safe schools where all students can learn in a safe and supportive environment.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli stated: “I want students to feel safe at school because when they do, they perform better and can reach their full potential. That is why I am pleased to lend my support to Wear It Purple Day 2014 and I wish participating schools all the best for an enjoyable day.”

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the campaign is “about ensuring all schools across Australia are places where every student can be free from bullying and violence, a message I strongly endorse. While there have been positive changes in social attitudes over the last few decades, there is still more work to be done in ensuring young people live their lives free of harassment and abuse”.

To support Wear It Purple Day the Wear It Purple organisation has created school-based programs and workshops that are available throughout the year to assist schools in creating safe environments and supporting sexuality and gender-diverse students.

To access further information or resources about Wear It Purple, or to register to host a Wear It Purple Day event in your school, TAFE or other educational setting visit the Wear It Purple website.

Inner City teachers applaud Alexander

Inner City Teachers Association’s social justice and environment award to a secondary student went to Alexander Leal Smith this year, for his promotion of Wear it Purple Day at the school level and his work on the Wear it Purple Youth Action Council. Alexander, who completed year 12 at Fort St High last year, has a strong history of social justice activism including volunteering alongside female students on the school’s women’s rights committee, fundraising at school and volunteer work in his local community. Association office holders Anthony Galluzzo, Amelia Kerr and John Gauci attended a school assembly at Fort St HS, in May, where Alexander was presented with his award.