Every year, we see hundreds (if not thousands) of politicians, companies and governments post on social media and announce their participation in #PinkShirtDay. “It’s a day about standing up against bullying!” they exclaim. “Wear a pink shirt to say no to bullying!”

But did you know that #PinkShirtDay was created to stand up against homophobia?

It’s true! #PinkShirtDay was founded as a protest against homophobia.

If teachers and school administrators seriously want to address bullying they will have to be explicit and unequivocal in their rejection of homophobia and transphobia and make it clear by their words and actions that kids of all sexes, genders and sexualities are equally welcome in their schools.

Claudia Ruitenberg • The Tyee

This erasure has always bothered me. It makes me angry that the work 2SLGBTQ+ organizations are doing to counteract homophobic and transphobic bullying in their communities is being overshadowed by politicians in pink shirts (the same ones who refuse to adequately fund 2SLGBTQ+ mental health care), school administrators in pink shirts (the same ones who ignore pleas for 2SLGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in their schools), companies selling pink shirts (the same ones who kick trans people out of bathrooms or refuse to hire trans people), or a vast range of other people who don’t understand how traditional forms of pushing back against bullying ignores issues of homophobia and transphobia.

We need to push back against this erasure. Keep the gay in #PinkShirtDay. Challenge 2SLGBTQ-erasure in these movements, and refuse to let the unique realities that 2SLGBTQ+ kids experience be ignored or glossed over.


Did you know?

  • #PinkShirtDay was founded to stand up specifically against homophobic bullying.
  • The fact that homophobia is rarely mentioned in the anti-bullying #PinkShirtDay campaigns is not by accident.
  • The erasure of 2SLGBTQ+ issues in this major anti-bullying campaign sanitizes and ignores the reality that 2SLGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience violence than their non-2SLGBTQ+ peers.
  • You can support anti-homophobia initiatives by choosing not to purchase a #PinkShirt from a corporation, but instead donating those funds to 2SLGBTQ+ organizations or GSA/QSAs at local schools.