October is a big month.  Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Breast Cancer, as you know, is pink.  If you’ve been seeing a lot of purple around, that’s probably related to the other thing we raise awareness for in October.

It also happens that there have been a recent flurry of suicides among gay teens.  It’s been all over the news, and the (positive) backlash in the media has been heartwarming, particularly in regards to the It Gets Better Project, stated by Dan Savage.  And, as a result, many are wearing purple to support their gay friends and loved ones, to tell them that it does get better, and they will stand by them through the tough times.

It’s appropriate.  While Domestic Violence is generally defined as being between romantic partners, the spirit behind it represents control, fear, and humiliation.  Why do people bully others?  To feel more powerful, to build themselves up by tearing someone else down.  Aggressors do this to their partners, just as it is done to gay people by others who may not understand or possibly fear them.

There’s a great discussion going on about owning your choices over at A Practical Wedding.  While a discussion about dry weddings may seem unrelated to this, it’s not.  I think that, though the discussion clearly has vastly dissenting viewpoints, there is a level of respect among the commenters (which is why I love that community so much!).  I’ve found, bullying and tearing others down takes all forms, even in – no, especially in – Internet communities.

In this case, it’s not about being gay.  It’s not about domestic violence.  It’s about treating each other as equals, and treating their experiences and their choices and who they are with respect and dignity.  You don’t need to tear someone down, tell them that they’re wrong because they don’t believe the same thing you do, or do something a different way, or feel passion in a different manner.  It’s not something to fear, it is something to embrace and rejoice in.

Because if we were all the same, it would be pretty damned boring.

So, wear your purple this month (especially on October 20th!), and when you do, think about what message you’re sending by doing so.