News / Vancouver

Surrey student shows spirit for Seventeen

A young LGBTQ crusader from Surrey could grace the cover of Seventeen Magazine for being the driving force behind a global anti-bullying initiative.

Brittany McMillan, 17, is one of five finalists in the U.S. teen magazine’s second annual “Pretty Amazing” cover contest.

The North Surrey Elementary student started Spirit Day in 2010 after seeing news about teenagers who had committed suicide because of homophobic bullying.

“For these other kids being bullied by an outside force is not right at all,” she said.

From what started as a blog entry asking her followers to help start a day of support for the victims of bullying, the movement has since gone global.

Spirit Day, which is celebrated on Oct. 20, has been promoted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Hollywood celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Tyra Banks, Cher, and the cast of Glee have worn purple to show their support for the cause.

The colour comes from the purple stripe of the rainbow or pride flag, representing spirit.

McMillan, a straight A-student and student council member, will be flown along with the other four finalists to New York for a photo shoot and a luncheon with the editors of Seventeen and actress Emma Roberts, one of the judges in the contest.

The winner will be announced in September, will appear on an October 2012 cover and win a $20,000 scholarship.

McMillan said if she wins, the money will go towards her education as she wants to become an elementary school teacher.

She said she’s working with Pride Live Nation and GLAAD on a clothing line as well as a fundraising text campaign that would benefit LGBTQ organizations.

“Pride Live Nation and I have also been talking to the United Nations and working on a document drawn up on for how other countries can help get rid of homophobic bullying,” she added.

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