Bil Browning

Today is Day of Silence

Filed By Bil Browning | April 18, 2007 12:35 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Day of Silence, direct action group, GLSEN, hate speech, homophobic behavior, LGBT youth, schools, silence, Universities

dos_b2.jpgToday marks the 11th annual Day of Silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Sponsored by GLSEN, the event has become a tradition with LGBT youth.

Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 1,900 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2002, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

The students pledge to spend the day without talking to mark the silence surrounding homophobia and hate. Instead they hand out cards that read:

"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discriminaton. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."

If any of our college or high school readers are participating in the event, please let us know. (After, of course, your school day has ended!)

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Spectrum USI's participating! :)

Joe D. King | April 18, 2007 5:03 PM

Hello. I teach at North Central and I am the sponsor of the Gay Straight Alliance Club. We had at least 100 students participating in Day of Silence today at NC. It is hard to track exactly how many participated, as many allies joined in as the day progressed. After school today, we had an excellent debriefing, called Breaking the Silence. The students offered stories, both positive and negative, of their experiences. My kids are sometimes discouraged by the occasional bigoted comment. However, I reminded them of the hundreds of kids that they reached today - the kids who are sitting in the school too afraid to come out - who realized they do have support. There are so many kids who are way too afraid to attend a GSA meeting or to participate in Day of Silence who are, nonetheless, helped by the club's mere existence. Therein lies its importance. By the way, our administration at North Central is 100% supportive. :-)