Youth Blog—Speak Your Mind Without Saying a Word—Day of Silence is April 17
Written by Reese Minshew, MA, Psychology Resident with the IMPACT Program.
LGBT youth and their allies can experience harassment in places that are supposed to be safe. Have you been silenced, bullied, or harassed at school? You’re not alone—The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2009 National School Climate Survey found that 9 out of 10 LGBT youth report having experienced harassment at school. And speaking out against injustice can be tough!
GLSEN organizes an annual Day of Silence to help youth stand in solidarity with LGBT youth who have been bullied and harassed. This year, the event will take place on April 17, and there’s still time to get involved! If you decide to participate in the Day of Silence, you take a vow of silence for the full day, in order to bring attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying. When LGBT youth don’t feel safe about speaking out, their voices and perspectives are lost, which is ultimately bad for everyone. The more perspectives we have in our schools, the more everyone learns!
Day of Silence events have taken place at middle schools, high schools, and colleges all over the United States and around the world. For example, students in Singapore, Russia, New Zealand, and beyond have participated in Day of Silence events. These events are organized entirely by students, with GLSEN providing support and organizing ideas for LGBT youth and allies who want to speak out against harassment.
Think you might be interested in organizing a Day of Silence event at your school? Start today! The folks at GLSEN strongly recommend that you get support, in advance, from administrators and teachers, in part so that your event can have the strongest possible impact. Plus, you want to make sure that you fully know and understand your rights—and that your school’s administrators are aware of your rights, too. Specifically, you have the right to remain silent during lunch and between classes, but if a teacher asks you a direct question you do not have the right to remain silent. So talk with your teachers and administrators beforehand, and work to enlist their support. You can check out GLSEN’s website for more tips, ideas, and resources for making your Day of Silence a success. If it’s too late to organize a full Day of Silence event at your school, they have recommendations for other ways that you can get involved.
We can make our schools safer for everyone! Participating in the Day of Silence is a great way to speak out for LGBTQ youth without saying a word.
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