|News report: Day of Pink - Kelowna, British Columbia, 2010|
This year's Day of Pink, April 13, 2011, is the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination and Homophobia in schools and communities.
It is a Canadian initiative which was started a few years by a group of high school seniors in support of a grade 9 boy in Nova Scotia who was harassed on his first day of school for wearing pink. I'm not sure how "international" it is, but the Day of Pink exists in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I'm not aware of any organized events in the USA. However, one year, Ellen DeGeneres did a segment on the "Day of Pink" on her talk show. (update: The Day of Pink is recognized in some school districts in the USA; some of the more enlightened ones obviously.)
For some reason, Canada has several "pink" anti-bullying days, Pink Shirt Day in late February and another one, I believe, in November. I think these days are run by different organizations who can't agree on one date. Today's "Day of Pink" is different from the other days because it is specifically an LGBT event.
In Canada, Day of Pink is a very big deal in many non-Catholic* elementary and secondary schools. Anti-LGBT bullying initiatives, and anti-bullying initiatives in general are being pushed into the spotlight by Ministries of Education all across the country. I wonder if the media reports of LGBT youth being bullied and committing suicide have heightened this sense of urgency? In my small, very remote, blue-collar town, the hoopla is amazing! Here are a few highlights of this week's events. I've also described events which occurred during last year; at the time of this posting, this year's Day of Pink hasn't happened yet!
- At my kids' high school this week, daily announcements were made explaining the importance of this day. Unlike in past years, no attempt was made to downplay the fact that it is an LGBT initiative.
- The Canadian flag in front on the school was taken down, replaced by the Rainbow Flag. Would this happen anywhere in the USA?
- Students and staff were encouraged to wear pink clothing or a pink ribbon. Last year, participation rates were over 70%.
- The incentive this year: the home room class with the greatest percentage of participating students will win a party featuring pink-frosted cupcakes.
- LGBT community representatives were invited by our school district head office to speak to students at school assemblies about LGBT bullying. Amazing!
- TV and radio stories and interviews on the Day of Pink were broadcast nationally.
- Across Canada, pink-clad students and teachers posed for a group photos to be posted online.
- Student groups all over the country posted YouTube videos and did pink flash mob dances.
- At our provincial legislature, all the Liberal members of provincial parliament wore pink.
- In many provinces, the provincial Premier or the Minster of Education spoke publicly on the importance of ending LGBT bulling.
* the Catholic schools, of course, mainly pretend that gays and lesbians do not exist. Would we expect anything else from them?