Public schools across NSW celebrated Wear It Purple last month to communicate to rainbow and LGBTIQ people that they are welcome and an integral part of the community.
Schools across all sectors marked the day with activities ranging from mufti days, where students and staff wore purple, through to purple bake sales, student messages of support, and guest speakers linking the message of the day to curriculum areas regarding diversity, respect and relationships.
Wear It Purple, the student-led organisation behind the campaign, recognises that there are many young people that might not have sufficient support in their surroundings and believes it is crucial that isolated or at-risk young people know that such support exists. It holds that respect is an integral element to the formation of healthy relationships between individuals, especially in the formative years of identity development.
Wear It Purple’s Operations Officer, Naomi Graham, said, “Wear it Purple seeks to empower young people to be proud of who they are. Putting any personal opinion aside, at the heart of this is respect; a universal notion.”
Teachers from various schools around the state have commented on the visibility and inclusion that Wear It Purple day gives to rainbow young people and their allies at their schools.
When schools show their support of rainbow young people and their families in various ways they are supporting the spirit of the core values of public education. Such activities and inclusive practices are also in line with NSW Department of Education’s policies that encourage the celebration of diversity and promote action to address homophobia and other forms of harassment and discrimination.
Federation also took the opportunity to celebrate Wear It Purple in our offices across the state, with the main activity being a morning tea in Federation’s Sydney office. Staff were encouraged to Wear It Purple on the day and let others know why they were doing so, and donations were made for Wear It Purple wristbands.
Mel Smith is Officer attached to the LGBTIQ Special Interests Group