by Cheryl Jackson Wednesday October 20, 2010

I'm wearing purple today - a dark plum purple cardigan over a summery, sheer purple top. This was planned. Today is Spriit Day, a day to wear purple to remember gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth who have committed suicide. While it may seem like a small thing, wearing purple means you know about the suicides, you care about them, and you want to talk about them. 

If you've been following the news lately, you'll know that many young men and women have committed suicide recently due to homophobic bullying and abuse in their homes and schools. In fact, on the Facebook event page, eleven names are listed. All of  these suicides have occured in the past two months.

How could this have happened? Why is it happening? How many more times will it happen before it never happens again?

Bullying, for any reason, is a horror - for the victims, for their parents, for their siblings and friends. Yet, despite all the anti-bullying programs at work in our schools (there are 130 listed on the Ontario Ministry of Education's website), bullying persists, and sometimes young people die.

I'm not sure if there is less bullying than there used to be, but I do know that it's changed. Now, thanks to technology, when a child is bullied the whole world might know, so the impact can be huge. In fact, that's what drove some of those young people to kill themselves. They were 'outed' on Facebook and Twitter.

How cruel.

We're putting together as much information as we can about bullying and will post it all here mid-November for Anti-Bullying Week. We'll have interviews with parents, psychologists, and those who have been bullied. We'll tell you about new research that shows the brains of bullied victims actually change in response to repeated bullying. And we'll post articles, blogs and links to other content on our site and elsewhere.

Keep checking our site. Tell us your stories. My hope is that the more we learn about bullying, the more we talk about it, the more we will be aware and on guard, and the fewer lives will be lost or ruined.