Day of Pink aims to end bullying and discrimination

Toronto police officer Luke Watson dyed his hair pink in support of the day. Twitter / @RyanCP23

TORONTO — It’s a day to celebrate diversity and show support for those being bullied. April 8 is the Day of Pink, when people around the world are encouraged to wear pink to draw attention to bullying and discrimination, particularly against LGBTQ people.

The day was started in Nova Scotia, when two high school students saw a gay classmate being bullied for wearing pink. The students intervened and decided to do something to prevent future homophobic and transphobic bullying, according to the movement’s official site. The students decided to wear pink, and encouraged their classmate’s to do the same, in a show of solidarity. That Day of Pink has grown, with #DayofPink trending on Twitter and filling up Facebook news feeds.

The Toronto Police Service is a supporter, even changing its Twitter avatar and banner to a pink version for the day.

One Toronto officer dyed his hair pink, with a pledge to keep his hair the vibrant hue for a week if the post was re-tweeted 1,000 times (it was).

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Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted his support for the day and for “building an inclusive Toronto.”

Ottawa paramedics donned pink shirts, tweeting the caption, “#DayOfPink Proud to be wearing pink. Proud to stand up for victims.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with students at Agincourt Collegiate Institute and spoke about the importance of acceptance.

A 2011 national survey by the Toronto-based organization Egale Canada found that 21 per cent of LGBTQ students reported being physically harassed or assaulted due to their sexual orientation.

According to Statistics Canada, victims of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation tend to be younger, with 56 per cent under the age 25.

In 2012, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Peterborough led the nation, per capita, when it came to the number of hate crimes reported to police.

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