The Day of Silence is an event to address the problem of the bullying, harrasment, and silencing of LGBT students. The twist? This event is student led.
The Day of Silence started at a single school in 1996. It’s since grown into an international event, sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) and endorsed by dozens of organizations.
But the single most important thing to know about this event? It’s made up of thousands of small events, organized by students at thousands of middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Many are put together by GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) within schools, but some are the efforts of caring friends, relatives, educators, and allies.
That there even still needs to be a Day of Silence is heart-breaking. As far as we have come with equality and with our efforts to stop bullying and harrasment, there are still millions of kids who feel that they cannot speak up for themselves for fear of what will happen, or for fear of not being listened to at all.
This student-made video from the 2008 event says what many GLBTQ students can’t. You see us every day. You know we are here. But you don’t hear us.
So why a Day of Silence? The official website says this:
The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.
We hear all the time about the supposed selfishness and apathy of teenagers.
But things like this tell us that there are plenty of them willing to stand up for those who feel like they can’t stand up for themselves.
The 2014 Day of Silence is on April 11. If you or someone you know is participating, we’d love to hear from you. Want to get involved? Tips for last-minute organizing are here.