At Yahoo! we’re all about wearing more purple but this week there’s a special reason to sport our favorite color. Over 1 million people have pledged on Facebook to Wear Purple on October 20in support of ending homophobic bullying, and Yahoo! Pride – our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Employee Resource Group – is encouraging people to show their support.
The Wear Purple campaign is inspired by the recent spate of suicides of US teens, who were bullied and ostracized at school because of their sexual orientation. Sadly, those young people who took their own lives cannot hear this outpouring of support, but the hope is that other teens and young people currently struggling with similar harassment will take strength from this campaign.
"The diversity of our employees directly reflects that of our worldwide audience – that’s one of our great strengths as an organization," said Drew Geishecker, chair of Yahoo! Pride. "Nearly 8% of Yahoo!’s users self-identify as LGBT, many of whom are all too familiar with the type of torment, ridicule, and at times, violence, that wouldn’t exist if we lived in a better-informed, more compassionate society. We all gain by becoming better educated about each of our diverse audience segments, rather than allowing their differences to be used as a harmful wedge that drives people apart.”
Y! Pride is just one of the many groups which have thrown their support behind the campaign to raise awareness. The Trevor Project offers a crisis and suicide prevention hotline to LGBT youth, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) – a strong presence in the tech world – has also highlighted the effort. In recent weeks, the media has focused on the “It Gets Better” project, hundreds of short films by LGBT adults reminding kids that life gets better even if it doesn’t seem that way right now.
Supporting efforts to accept people for who they are, and leverage the power of the differences and similarities that make each person unique, is part of Yahoo!’s DNA. “We support diversity and inclusion because we believe people do their best work when they are treated with dignity and respect, no matter what their background or orientation is,” said Cynthia Owyoung, Yahoo!’s head of diversity and inclusion.
So this Wednesday, Oct. 20, wear your purple clothes with extra pride and let bullied teens know they’re not alone.