In early October 2010, a Canadian teenager named Brittany McMillan started a campaign on Tumblr to celebrate the first Spirit Day. Inspired by a thread regarding highly publicized LGBTQ suicides that year, she took Canada's Pink Shirt Day--an anti-bullying holiday--as a model for the movement.
On Oct. 20, McMillan enlisted friends, family, and followers to wear purple in order to stand up to the bullying and support LGBTQ teens. Purple is the color that represents spirit on the Pride Flag.
"Wearing purple would also symbolize support for the LGBTQ community and hopefully encourage youth to find the 'spirit' to persevere in times of struggle," McMillan told NBC OUT.
Since that first Spirit Day in 2010, McMillan has teamed up with GLAAD to make the anti-bullying Spirit Day into a global phenomenon. Now, the day of awareness takes place every third Thursday of October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. This year, it falls on its original date, October 20.