Regardless of one’s belief about sexuality we should all agree that bullying, for any reason, is never acceptable. The National Day of Silence is an attempt to bring awareness and change to the bullying/violence directed at youth who are LGBTQ.
Founded in 1996 at the University of Virginia, the “Day of Silence” is billed by organizers as the largest student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Scheduled to be held this year on Friday, April 16, hundreds of thousands of students in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across America will take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage their schools and peers to address the problem of anti- lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender behavior. The event is now officially sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). According to research from GLSEN, nearly nine out of ten LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and more than 30 percent report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. According to the “Day of Silence “ official website (www.dayofsilence.org), there are four truths that address common misinformation about the Day of Silence. These truths are:
1. The Day of Silence’s purpose is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses.
2. Hundreds of thousands of students of all beliefs, backgrounds and sexual
orientations participate in the Day of Silence.
3. Day of Silence participants encourage schools to implement proven solutions to address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.
4. The day is a positive educational experience.
In 2008, students participating in the “Day of Silence” handed out “speaking cards” which said: “Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by name-calling, bullying and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”