I’m a classic white shirt kind of guy – in fact, I’m teased by colleagues for wearing one every day, including casual Fridays – but today, like many McGillians, I’m wearing purple. Why? You may have noticed a lot of media attention lately about suicide by gay youth. Today has been nominated “by the Facebook” as a day to commemorate these victims of loneliness, confusion, and hate, by wearing purple.
At McGill in 2010, there are people feeling confused or curious about their sexuality who believe they are alone. Perhaps dangerously alone. The reality is, regardless of where they come from, what their parents do or believe, what age, religion or ethnicity they are, whether they are “Gay” or not, or even what program they are following at our fine school, they are surrounded by people who have been through the same experience of growing up different. Those of us who have been through it (and survived it) are as diverse as they are. Some of us are wearing purple today.
“Despite progress made, the persistent problem of homophobia runs much deeper than the few cases that have been mentioned in the media,” said Prof. Robert Leckey of the Faculty of Law, chair of the McGill Equity Subcommittee on Queer People. “It’s really important to us that folks feeling isolated know that there is a large community at McGill who understand them. There are an important range of resources available to them.”
Before I came to terms with myself, after having left the small town I grew up in, simply knowing that there were other people like me around helped. That’s why visibility is important today. If you are feeling confused, you should know that we are all on your side. You can approach anyone wearing purple. Alternatively, you can refer to McGill’s Safe Space allies who are especially dedicated to our community. Take care.
For more information, please consult www.mcgill.ca/equity_diversity/lgbtq/allies/