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Spirit Day in Charleston supports LGBT youth - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Spirit Day in Charleston supports LGBT youth

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

At the Spirit Day rally in downtown Charleston Thursday night, dozens of people celebrated the steps South Carolina has made towards marriage equality in the past two weeks and raised awareness for youth in the LGBT community being bullied or neglected because of their sexuality.

"Kids are facing bullies whether it's in their families or their friend groups,” Clifton McDaniel, who's on the advisory board for We Are Family, said. “This is kind of giving them awareness that it's ok to be who you are. That's really what's important."

Event organizers say millions of children are harassed and bullied every year because of their sexuality.

"Everyone should be able to live authentically, to live their lives as truthfully and honestly as possible and our youth's lives are precious and they should be supported," Melissa Moore, the executive director for We Are Family said.

The event featured music performances and speeches about bullying, support and gender equality including Chely Wright, who was the first major country music star to come out as gay.

She gave the keynote speech at tonight's event and applauded kids for coming out at an early age.

"These youth have the courage, and as I said earlier, the gumption, to know to fight for themselves and to fight for the right to live authentically" Wright said.

Moore says the state has become more tolerant but there's still a long way to go.

"We should not forget that the fight does not begin and end with marriage equality,” Moore said. “Kids are still are still being bullied everyday in school, that the struggles are real and we shouldn't just hang up our hats and say it's over."

For more information on the organization or to get involved, visit WAF.org

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