On April 20th, wear purple for military children. What an awesome concept, coming together to support children who are transient and sacrificing for our country. We live among these families, we are witness to the strain. These brave families face deployment, leaving one parent at home with the children while the spouse is far off in an often volatile part of the world.
We wear purple on April 20th to show support for these families, for these incredible children. We show solidarity and recognize the struggle and tremendous sacrifice. To acknowledge the resilience of deployment and reintegration, moves, and adaptation. Grief and loss be it by losing a parent or leaving after three years and receiving new orders. They are strong, they are survivors, and should be celebrated.
Twice I have been surprised by stories of children wearing purple. The first, a child told me they were not allowed to wear purple on April 20th because it is a “girl” color. They were ashamed and sad, sharing that they are nonbinary. Begging me not to share their identity with those who condemn the color purple. I accepted the information, stood in disbelief, and showed solidarity. Awestruck by the candor of this child, unable to remedy the situation.
The second, I was hosting a family in my home. A parent shared that their child wore a purple Scooby-Doo shirt, in reaction a family member suggested the parent “beat” the child because purple is a “girl color.” While in disbelief I let the words swirl and twirl like marbles in my brain while the gravity settled in. Do these things actually happen? I am naïve. My child is so lucky but oh so many are not so fortunate. How is this the second story of a child and the color purple, how can a color create such contempt?
We live in a military community. I wear purple on April 20th. My children wear purple on April 20th. We appreciate our military families’ sacrifices incredibly. We acknowledge the toll it takes on children and are in awe of their resilience.
I also acknowledge that wearing purple is a loaded gun. While it can show solidarity for some, it can come with physical abuse for others. Purple for our TNBY children can bring shame, physical abuse, and another reminder of their otherness.
In conclusion, on April 20th please wear purple for military children. Also, make room in your heart for those children who cannot participate because purple is “a girl color.” And boys can’t wear a girl color. Because purple, according to some, has a gender.
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