Will the Real Pink Shirt Day Please Stand Up?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all against bullies. I got the shit kicked out of me when I was a kid more times than I could keep track of. It was a sort of ritual. I’d see them coming, just lay down to let them kick me around the pavement, then get up and head home. I was expert at protecting my nether regions.

And I was called every name in the book. I won’t mention those names here, lest I offend someone. Suffice to say, my vocabulary is much more colourful for the experience. Credit bullies, they have quite the imaginations!

So it’s with chagrin that I have suddenly realized that the whole anti-bullying movement is a big steaming pile of dog pooh.

It was in February of this year that I last observed it at Takhini School. I remember it well because I ordered some pink shirts from the only place I could find them, the Pink Shirt Day web site.

Then this morning I learned that Pink Shirt Day was suddenly moved to November 18–who made that decision?

Well, nobody, it turns out. Pink Shirt Day is a moving target. In some places it’s not even pink shirt day, it’s green shirt day. Some places it’s not even a day; it’s a week, or a month.

Here’s the run-down on pink and anti-bullying periods I managed to dig up:

November 14-18, 2011 – National Anti-Bullying Week (UK)
“We are now extending our anti-bullying week to a whole month. November is our international anti-bullying month.” This is where the green shirts happen.

February 29, 2012Pink Shirt Day (Canada)
“Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet” And, from Wikipedia: “The last Wednesday of February is known as Anti-Bullying Day in Canada.” (Anti-Bullying Day) Apparently, this is the one that resulted from that famous event in Nova Scotia in which two boys wore pink shirts to protest actions by bullies in their school, “David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied…”

April 11, 2012 – Day of Pink (Canada)
“the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia and Transphobia in schools and communities”. But wait, this one claims to have been founded by the two boys in Nova Scotia, too: “The International Day of Pink was started in Nova Scotial when 2 straight high school students saw a gay student wearing a pink shirt being bullied.”

The best I can figure is that the Yukon now observes neither of the Canadian-based anti-bullying days, but the UK one. And we don’t observe the whole month, but just one day of it. But, wait again, we don’t wear green shirts like they do in the UK, we wear pink shirts like they do for the two Canadian anti-bullying days in the spring. And we seem to have adopted the name, Sea of Pink, for our efforts (which not only confuses the whole anti-bullying effort, but also conflicts with the breast cancer movement).

It seems that the Yukon’s anti-bullying day is some strange hybridization of all of the anti-bullying events from Canada and the UK. But that’s okay, because the other two efforts in Canada can’t seem to make up their mind about when the International Day of Pink or the Pink Shirt Day or whatever it’s called is, either.

Even odder, the UK’s National Anti-Bullying Week was founded in 2002, but the boys in Nova Scotia didn’t wear pink shirts until 2007. And they wore them in September, not November or February or April (Bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates’ T-shirt campaign).

My head is spinning. Can’t we all just agree on a date for Anti-Bullying Day/Week/Month or Pink Shirt Day or Day of Pink or Sea of Pink, or whatever the hell you want to call it and put the full force of our efforts behind it?

I just have this feeling that there’s this organized gang of bullies (and believe me, they’re always organized) that’s hanging around somewhere, laughing at this splintered movement, and ready to pound on me the day I happen to wear the wrong coloured shirt.

Update: wow, another one! For BeatBullying’s Anti-Bullying Week (which coincides with a portion of the UK’s month, so at least there’s some consistency), they where not green shirts or pink shirts, but blue wristbands.