August 26, 2021

A purple conversation

Wear it Purple Day is an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) awareness day aimed at young people.

On the day, this year held on Friday, 27 August, the community is encouraged to wear purple to celebrate and acknowledge diversity among young people in the LGBTIQA+ community.

Wear it Purple Day was founded in 2010 in response to teenage suicides in the LGBTIQA+ community, following bullying from the “lack of acceptance” of their sexuality or gender identity.

This year’s theme is ‘Start the Conversation, Keep it Going’ – focusing on the conversations people have about sexual orientation and gender identity. It also aims to remind people that the issues and topics of Wear it Purple Day should be spoken about every day.

Simon Doyle, LGBTIQA+ Working Group member, highlighted the importance of the day.

“The story behind it is to ensure that members of the community feel that they are allowed to be proud, that they are welcomed and celebrated. It is a really easy way of showing that,” Simon said.

“Wear it Purple Day is that element of visibility, which is something that is so simple, but can make someone feel safe.”

“We encourage all of our members of staff that if they want to participate, to wear something purple, whether it be big or small.”

Christine Nicolaidis, Co-chair LGBTIQA+ Working Group, said it was important for Northern Health to embrace the day to ensure patients and consumers felt safe at the health service.

“We know that members in our community identify as part of the rainbow community, and we know that those members of the community often feel unsafe in accessing health services and have a disparity in health outcomes,” she said.

“We want to make the community know that we are aiming to be a safe organisation for this group of people.”

Simon, who is part of the LGBTIQA+ community, says Wear it Purple Day is simple and easy way for a young person in the LGBTIQA+ community to feel welcomed and safe.

“I identify as gay. Something as straightforward as seeing someone who may be gay or not, participate would have made me feel really welcome and safe, and that is something I didn’t really have when I was younger, so I think it is really important that now we are able to celebrate those things, it is done more often,” he said.

“It isn’t just a day. It’s a great reminder to start having those important conversations with our young people, friends and family, with our colleagues and to continue that throughout the year.”

“It’s something that I have been personally very passionate about my whole life. It is really important to make workplaces and big organisations feel inclusive for those that work there and are consumers.”

Featured image: Christine Nicolaidis, Co-chair LGBTIQA+ Working Group and Simon Doyle, LGBTIQA+ Working Group member.