October 15th is Wear It Purple Day. Please make and wear a purple arm band to show support for gay teens at risk.

For young Australians, suicide is the second most common cause of death after traffic accidents. It’s reported that 30% of gay, bisexual or transgender teens will attempt suicide in Australia in 2010. This is a shocking statistic and a disgraceful state of affairs for a country that reports to give people “a fair go”.

Last week, we were all reminded of this ongoing tragedy when a teenage American student, Tyler Clementi, was driven to take his life because his sexuality was not respected. He was the 4th US teenager to suicide that week, all horrendously bullied because of their sexuality.

My name is Katherine and I’m a 17 year old high school student. At my school most teachers and students respect each other’s sexuality even if it is different to their own. But kids at some other schools are not so lucky. Their difference is not respected, fingers are pointed and kids are bullied. I believe something has to be done.

This situation of intolerance and ignorance cannot continue. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or whatever. Young bright people are having their future and dreams cruelly ripped away from them by this endemic hate in our society.

In Australia, on average 2500 people commit suicide each year. Although the rate of suicide has fallen in the last decade, still over 200 young people aged 15-24 will suicide this year. Suicide accounts for about 20% of youth deaths and gay youth are on the government’s high risk list for suicides. Australia’s attitude of ignorance or “she’ll be right mate” to mental health contributes to our kids feeling hated and alone.

Cyber-bullying is a new form of hate crime described by the Australian Institute of Criminology as crime that sends “a message of fear and terror based in bigotry”.  Unlike playground bullying where there oppressors can be left behind at the school gate, cyber-bullying follows children home and into their bedrooms. These kids are hurt 24/7, and yet society stands idly by? We have to stop this.

By wearing a purple arm band you’re showing support. It doesn’t matter how you do it: tie it, draw it, lipstick it or tattoo it. Wear purple to tell these kids they’re accepted and not alone. We need to take action to change society’s attitude and stop the deaths.

So please make and wear a purple arm band on Friday October 15 to support gay teens at risk. You can also befriend the us on Facebook or follow on Twitter.