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Editorial: Make some noise to help LGBTQ+ students be heard

Ollie Shuminas
Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies participate in Day of (No) Silence at Metea.
Ollie Shuminas

For the past 18 years, LGBTQ+ students have marked the second Friday in April as a day of silence to bring attention to all of the harassment LGBTQ+ students face.

Starting in 1996, two college students attending the University of Virginia worked together to create the Day of Silence. This day is meant to help protest the harassment and bullying of LGBTQ+ students. The silence shown on this day is supposed to honor victims of hate crimes. However, due to the surge of new anti-LGBTQ+ laws, it has become a day of protest. Now, the LGBTQ+ community feels that they should stay silent no more, changing the event to be called the Day of (No) Silence. Many students are taking this day to speak out on the issues facing their community.

 In 2024, Legislators passed over 400 new laws against the LGBTQ+ community as of April. Laws against LGBTQ+ students rights are nothing new. There are laws against gender reassignment surgeries, restroom rights, and more. These laws can make it very hard for students to feel comfortable, come to school, come out to others, and speak up about their own emotions. 

Government officials are passing laws discriminating against LGBTQ+ students and those students are silently suffering. Students not having the ease to participate may affect their mental health, leading them to be depressed, anxious, and have suicidal thoughts. 

In a 2019 school climate survey, 86% of LGBTQ+ youth reported harassment or assault, which can significantly impact their mental health in school. High school students who identify as LGBTQ+ are more than four times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. LGBTQ+ students are being silenced and so are their rights and mental well-being. 

To help improve the well-being of students in the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to use our voices to help speak up against all of the harassment and bullying. Speak up against instances of bullying. Speak up if others are picking on another student for their sexuality and or gender expression. Speak up and correct others who are misidentifying someone. Speak up against the hate towards LGBTQ+ students. Do not quiet yourself on these issues. Our voice makes a difference. 

We, the Stampede Editorial Board, believe that everyone needs to help end the silencing of LGBTQ+ students. Everyone can do their part not just today but every day. We need to respect people’s identities through their names, pronouns, sexualities, and more. Be supportive by helping someone when they ask for help because that means they trust us. Create a safe place. Make a place where people feel comfortable sharing their feelings and if they are not comfortable sharing these feelings, feel free to give them some available resources or encourage them to talk to a trusted adult. 

A safer, inclusive, and kind community is what we are striving for, and it is up to all of us to make that difference by helping us make some noise on LGBTQ+ Day of (No) Silence.

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About the Contributor
Ollie Shuminas
Ollie Shuminas is a Senior who has been on staff for three years. He is currently the Editor-in-chief of the Stampede. Outside of journalism, you may find him a part of Metea’s many theatrical activities, the speech team, or reading a plethora of books.

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