After last week's historic CNN LGBTQ+ Town Hall, several Democratic presidential candidates have taken yet another opportunity to show support for the community: by sharing messages of solidarity for Spirit Day.
In a series of videos posted by GLAAD, five of the contenders took a moment away from the hustle and bustle to affirm LGBTQ+ youth and let them know they aren't alone. Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar each participated as part of the annual observance to fight against anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.
As the first gay man with a shot at becoming the Democratic nominee, Buttigieg said it's tough to be a young person, even without the added challenge of being LGBTQ+.
"When I was in high school, there was literally not one out person that I knew of," he said. "[...] Take strength in the fact that there are a whole bunch of people around the world cheering you on that have never even met you, that I'm cheering you on."
In his Spirit Day message, Biden told LGBTQ+ youth that they're incredible, special, and "have the capacity to do anything and everything." In addition, Harris said she would always stand with the LGBTQ+ community and urged youth to not "silently suffer" and to know they deserve "respect and dignity, and safety."
Meanwhile, Klobuchar also reassured LGBTQ+ young people that she'd fight for them if elected president.
"The way you stop [bullying] is, first of all, from the top with the rhetoric," she said, calling out President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for rolling back LGBTQ+ rights under the current administration. She also reminded LGBTQ+ young people to reach out to school counselors, support groups, and hotlines should they encounter bullying.
Booker echoed her sentiments.
The majority of the remaining 2020 candidates have yet to commemorate Spirit Day on social media, including those who have yet to release detailed plans for how they'll address LGBTQ+ civil rights. Although she didn't shoot a video, Elizabeth Warren tweeted that she was happy to wear purple for Spirit Day and to "fight every day for a country where LGBTQ youth feel safe and loved."
\u201cHappy to wear purple for @GLAAD\u2019s #SpiritDay \u2013 and to fight every day for a country where LGBTQ youth feel safe and loved.\u201d
The first Spirit Day took place in 2010 amid a wave of LGBTQ+ youth suicides at schools across the country. It quickly became a widely acknowledged observance and since 2013 has taken place on the third Thursday of every October, which also marks LGBTQ+ History Month and National Bullying Prevention Month.
Spirit Day was first organized by Brittany McMillan, a Canadian high school student, who wanted to inspire LGBTQ+ youth to feel comfortable being themselves.