Nina West, Javicia Leslie, and More Go Purple for Spirit Day

"We need to tell lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth it’s okay to be exactly who you are."

Celebrities across the web are showing up for LGBTQ youth.

This Thursday, October 15, is Spirit Day, the 2020 edition of GLAAD's annual campaign encouraging all of us to take a stand against anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in schools. Since 2010, GLAAD has partnered with hundreds of celebs, media outlets, companies, school districts, and other groups to promote the initiative—and this year's star-studded roster of supporters is no exception. Participants are asked to wear purple as a nod to the purple stripe in Gilbert Baker's iconic rainbow Pride flag, which symbolizes spirit.

According to The Trevor Project's recent National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, queer youth across the country encounter high rates of bullying, harassment, and physical threats to their safety. More than half of all trans and nonbinary youth surveyed said they have "seriously considered suicide" in the past year. With the added stress and loneliness of quarantining or social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for these already vulnerable demographics.

Although we can't gather IRL to celebrate Spirit Day due to the pandemic, the cause is more important than ever, says GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

“From the effects of COVID-19, to the social uprising against racial injustice and police brutality, to the Trump administration’s consistent attacks on LGBTQ people, this year has presented unprecedented challenges and crises, all of which continue to uniquely and disproportionately impact LGBTQ youth," Ellis said in a media statement. "At a time when LGBTQ youth may be isolating in homes that are not affirming or might not have access to their usual support systems, this year’s Spirit Day is a chance for LGBTQ people and allies to send messages of acceptance and support to LGBTQ youth when they need it most."

Scroll through below for a look at the all-star celebs supporting the cause, including RuPaul's Drag Race alum Nina West, Javicia Leslie from The CW's Batwoman, Wilson Cruz and Ian Alexander from Star Trek: Discovery, and more.

Learn more about Spirit Day and issues facing LGBTQ youth here.

Main image: Nina West.

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