Wear it Purple campaign is a student-led movement which began in Australia to raise awareness about the effects of homophobic bullying.

The idea went viral within a few weeks and Wear it Purple Day is now supported around the world annually.

“Wear it Purple’s key message is you have a right to be proud of who you are,” NSW Police western region sponsor for sexual and gender diversity Inspector Gemini Bakos said.

“It’s a day that represents the acceptance of diversity.

“It’s so important because those that identify on the rainbow spectrum have high rates of mental health issues due to a lack of social acceptance,” Bakos said.

“Due to the high rates of mental health issues for rainbow young people we [headspace] do serve to support them…and we promote the message that this is a place that they can come in and be accepted regardless of who they are.”

Inspector Bakos said concerns over youth suicide rates prompted NSW Police to get involved with Wear it Purple day five years ago.

“I don’t think everyday, non-law enforcement people are aware [of the extent of the issue],” she added.

“We’re often the first people that are called when a young person attempts self-harm or takes their life.

“I think one suicide is a huge issue and if we can prevent one then we’re doing well. It’s huge by virtue of just one death.”

Inspector Bakos said police officers across the western region will also be undertaking community engagement activities on Wear it Purple day, to spread the day’s key message in rural and remote communities.

“You have the right to be proud of who you, no matter who you are, what you are.

“We want you to know that you’re accepted and that we’re here if you need our help.”

Campsie Gay and Lesbian Liaison officer Sergeant Craig Partridge will be joined by Marrickville’s Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan to discuss sexuality and gender diversity with Dulwich High School students on Friday, in a bid to curb homophobic and transphobic bullying.

NSW Police Sexuality and Gender Diversity spokesman Superintendent Tony Crandell said the visit coincided with Beyond Blue research, which found a third of young men in Australia didn’t want a gay member in their friendship group.

Wear It Purple Day encourages young people to be proud of their gender and sexual identities and educate their peers on issues facing LGBTI youth.

For more information on Wear It Purple Day visit www.wearitpurple.org

 

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