News & Politics

Day Of Silence

 

PHOTO CREDIT: GLSEN

PHOTO CREDIT: GLSEN

Day of Silence is April 11th. If you aren’t familiar with this national youth movement, it’s a student-led event urging people to stand up against the impact of bias, harassment and violence towards LGBT people. Young people demonstrate by taking a vow of silence for the day.

I first took part in National Day of Silence when I was in high school. I wasn’t quite out to myself, yet, but I remember feeling compelled to participate along with several classmates. I don’t recall much from the day except that we wore armbands, and I was surprised how difficult it was to go without speaking. In college, not only was I out of the closet, I was president of the LGBT group on campus. By then I was a Day of Silence pro and could navigate my annual silent day with ease. I could even flirt without words – just ask my now partner and co-parent about the charming notes I wrote her as we sat silently at lunch together. During my professional career, I met students around the country who were planning a Day of Silence at their own schools. Now, as a stay-at-home mom of two young kids, it’s difficult to run a household without words, but perhaps one day my own kids will participate in a Day of Silence at their schools.

This year GLSEN is encouraging people to submit “Selfies for Silence.” Participants can print out a sign to hold in their picture. There is space to include your name and what you are doing to end the silence. Students taking part are mostly middle school, high school or college age, but I encourage all ages to ask themselves the question, “What am I doing to end the silence?”

PHOTO CREDIT: GLSEN

PHOTO CREDIT: GLSEN

I know many of us are telling our stories, raising our voices rather than silencing them. Both are powerful acts. Perhaps you know a student who might like to organize a Day of Silence at their own school? Or who might like to submit a picture. Or who would be happy to know that people all over the country understand the kind of silence they are facing. If so, be sure to share this info.  There are lot of resources for organizing your school and lots of inspiring selfies to scroll through on the Day of Silence Facebook page. Together we can break the silence.

 

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