To celebrate Spirit Day, Billboard Pride sat down with a handful of LGBTQ artists including Justin Tranter, Shea Diamond, and Hayley Kiyoko to gather messages of support for LGBTQ youth who might be struggling with bullying or harassment due to their identities.
According to GLAAD, 71 percent of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from teachers and/or school staff because of their gender expression.
Speaking with Billboard Pride, Justin Tranter explains that he wishes Spirit Day had existed when he was in middle school or high school. “If I had a day, just one day,” he says, “Where I saw everyone was inclusive and they were saying what you are, who you are, we love and support and accept and it's safe, if there was one kid or one teacher wearing a purple shirt on that special day, that to me would probably set aside so many other thoughts of being fearful of who I was. It would've changed my entire life.”
Shea Diamond notes how much Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” impacted her as a child. “The times when I had to hide my queerness, and her song…would come on, and you just couldn't hide it anymore,” she recalls. “Music made you feel, made you think, made you understand life a whole lot better. And I feel like she was telling my story.”
“Bullies are lame,” says Hayley Kiyoko with a laugh. “Know that there's nothing wrong with you.”
“Usually the things that we feel self-conscious about or get bullied about, those are the things that make us really interesting, productive, exciting, creative people,” adds K.Flay. “So fight for those things and don't let anyone beat it out of you.”
You can hear Spirit Day messages from many more artists in the video above, and visit glaad.org/spiritday for more information.