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Day of silence builds awareness for LGBTQ community

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[quote]By Nikki Roberts
Online Writer
Photo by Alexis Rizzi[/quote]

For the past two years, I have participated in the Day of Silence, a national student led movement that raises awareness about the injustices that too many members of the LGBTQ community face due to their sexual or gender identity. Founded on April 15, 1996 at the University of Virginia, the Day of Silence was created as a class project on nonviolent protest and involved just 150  students. In 2009, students observed the Day of Silence at more than 9,000 schools and has now spread across the country and through the halls of Metea Valley.

To celebrate the Day of Silence, participants vow to remain silent throughout the entire day, signing a pledge that states “Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices,” according to dayofsilence.org. The silence is kept until the end of the day, or until a special celebration activity is held, often hosted by schools or other LGBTQ organizations.

“I’m not sure if Metea did the Day of Silence before I came here, but ever since I became the supervisor we have had three.  Each year it has grown, and now it has multiple days of activities that build community.  We had the initial sign up day, the Tie Dye day, which has become a GSA tradition, an open mic, a panel discussion on issues, the day of silence during the school day, and the night of noise which is a party that symbolizes those who refuse to stay silenced,” Gay Straight Alliance supervisor Kim Marion said.

I have only been a part of the Day of Silence twice, but both times, I received questioning looks and awkward questions about my participation, which of course, I couldn’t answer. I assume these stem from confusion, seeing as I am not part of the Gay Straight Alliance or any other LGBTQ organization. What onlookers fail to realize is that the Day of Silence is not just for those who identify as LGBTQ, but for anyone who considers themselves an activist against bullying. The Day of Silence is important to me, not because of my own sexual orientation, but because I refuse to be a part of the silence that occurs when someone is bullied due to their orientation or identification. I refuse to sit by silently while my friends and classmates are picked on for being their honest, true selves. My deliberate silence mirrors not only the silence that often occurs when someone is bullied or harassed and feels unsafe or uncomfortable in defending themselves, but the silent hush that arises when no one else is willing defend the victim. Ironically, my day without a voice is actually my method of voicing that I do not condone hatred, I do not condone bullying, and that I am willing to take an active position against it.

If you know me personally, you know that I’m infamous for being a chatter mouth. I’m one of those people who seems to talk just for the pleasure of hearing my own voice, so it is often received as a shock when my friends and classmates learn I am participating in the Day of Silence. I take that response as a challenge. Not only do I prove I can remain silent for the duration of the day, but my unusual silence brings attention to a worthy cause. My participation does not only affect others, but myself as well. With the amount of time I would normally spend socializing with friends, I instead draw my attention inwards and reflect on why it is necessary to hold a Day of Silence each year. It saddens me to think that a national movement is required to end an issue that wouldn’t even be relevant if we chose to accept each other for who we are: unique individuals with endless ways of defining ourselves. However, when I consider the enormous progress made by the LBGTQ community in their fight for equal rights, I realize that the Day of Silence is also a way of celebrating these amazing achievements.

“GSA holds a Day of Silence because it is a way, ironically enough, to engage in conversation and bring awareness.  There have been many great strides in the LGBTQ community, but there are still those who are silenced, and we still have more to do.  If you want any indication of why our struggle is not over, look at North Carolina and Mississippi.  The Day of Silence has had a huge impact on Metea and it has grown.  This year was the biggest one we have had.  I was so proud to see students who are allies taking part in the day,” said Marion.

I encourage everyone to take part in the Day of Silence. A common misconception is that sexual orientation and gender identity define who participates; that’s a myth. The only criteria for joining the movement is the desire to end oppression and bullying. No, you aren’t exempt from participating in class, (although I will add I accomplish significantly more work when I kick my talking habit), but you are making a statement that says you openly accept your peers for who they are. You are helping create an atmosphere where all students can feel secure and comfortable in  their own skin, and in their school.

 

21 Comments

21 Responses to “Day of silence builds awareness for LGBTQ community”

  1. Anisha Kapoor on April 20th, 2016 3:01 pm

    Fam, let others live and love freely. Love, attraction, and sexuality are NOT A FORM OF MENTAL DISEASE!!!!!!!!n In fact it is the very thing that makes us human. You talk about the American family and values that we need to conserve? You believe we should conserve homophobia, racism, segregation, and the harming of our own people? The harming of humans just like you? How would you feel if someone said that you needed mental help because you were attracted to girls? How would you feel if you were kept from marrying the girl you love most? You are entitled to your own opinion but please please please don’t put others down. If members of lgbtq orientations read your comment how would they feel? Please be caring and empathetic. Thanks fam hope you understand and have a great one.
    Ps. sent with only love not hate <3

  2. John Doe on April 20th, 2016 7:20 pm

    I believe that this day is quite unnecessary. For starters, instead of having a day of silence students should hold a table during lunch periods where people can come and openly ask questions about the LGBTQ community. Thus, the misconceptions are being corrected, and it’s not a disturbance to the classroom environment. There were multiple students that day that decided not to participate in group activities and in class, and that hurts their education and their peers’ education. Why don’t you guys actually try and educate? Use your voices and don’t stay silent.

    Moreover, I believe that the LGBTQ community pushes itself onto others way too much. While they crave acceptance and respect, they refuse to respect other people’s religious beliefs. Just like how people in the LGBTQ community want to be themselves and cannot betray who they really are, people with faith and religious beliefs also cannot betray their faith and who THEY really are. Their faith is a foundation of their identity, and its rude and disrespectful to go against someone who doesn’t agree with your lifestyle. That makes the LGBTQ community a bunch of hypocrites. As long as there is no violence, there is no reason someone can’t disagree with another. People live the way they want to, and just because someone doesn’t agree with how you live, you’re going to drop everything? If that’s the case, then the LGBTQ community needs self-esteem and confidence help more than anything else. Before they take on the role of victims, they need to stop torturing others for their beliefs and their lifestyles.

  3. Mary Anderson on April 21st, 2016 3:32 pm

    Just a clarification, participating in the Day of Silence does not exempt you from school activities or classwork. All students still had to participate in class, and therefore did not lose out of any part of their education. I think your table discussion idea is a great one, and if you read the article carefully, you’d see that there was a table discussion held during the week!

  4. Molly L. on April 20th, 2016 7:46 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully support gay rights, but I strongly oppose the LGBT’s motives for two reasons: They make fun of Christians and they sexually exploit children in their rallies. If they weren’t so bigoted, extreme, and over-the-top, they would have my support.

  5. A concerned student on April 21st, 2016 10:15 am

    Please tell me this is a sick joke…

  6. Alex Murray on April 21st, 2016 11:03 am

    Those are probably the same ideas said by people before black were allowed to marry whites. plus my question is why does it matter to so many people whether a guy loves another guy or not.

  7. Nick Delaney on April 21st, 2016 12:56 pm

    “All you need in life is ignorance and confidence, then success is sure,” Mark Twain

  8. A Concerned Christian on April 21st, 2016 8:56 pm

    What I personally don’t agree with is that LGBT activists try to push on their beliefs on to people that may not follow the same beliefs. As a Christian, I believe that God made marriage holy and sacred and to only be between a man and a woman. Ironically, the same people that speak out for tolerance and want equal rights for everyone are seen being hypocritical at times because they don’t tolerate Christian beliefs. They often call them “bigots”, “homophobic”, “bible-thumpers”. This is apparent throughout the United States in cases like Christian bakeries being forced to shut down by the government when they refuse to make a wedding cake promoting gay marriage. Well if this goes directly against their beliefs, why should they have to do something they don’t feel comfortable about? If you were a baker, would you make someone a cake if they asked for it to say “pedophilia and bestiality are sacred and great!” Most wouldn’t, of course, because it would go against their values. Then why are Christians being discriminated against here?

  9. DANIEL on April 22nd, 2016 9:37 am

    “What I personally don’t agree with is that LGBT activists try to push on their beliefs on to people that may not follow the same beliefs”.

    Christians murdered thousands of Jews during the crusades because the Jews and Muslims wouldn’t take on their beliefs, and you are saying that LGBT is overdoing it?

  10. A Concerned Christian on April 27th, 2016 2:48 pm

    Obviously those Christians weren’t doing what God wanted either. Who knows if they even truly were Christian?

  11. ? on August 25th, 2017 5:45 pm

    We shouldn’t blame them for something that people did a long time ago. I mean it’s sort of a reason, but in that case, it should be followed up.

  12. Accepting Agnostic on April 25th, 2016 5:56 pm

    Curious Question
    If marriage is only sacred between a man and a woman, then why would God even allow gay marriage? Seems counter intuitive

  13. A Concerned Christian on April 27th, 2016 2:50 pm

    He doesn’t like gay marriage. In fact, I’m sure He doesn’t think of it as marriage at all and instead as sexual perversion. However, He gives us free will and we all have a sinful nature, and unfortunately our government has decided to legalize gay marriage.

  14. John Doe on May 5th, 2016 1:31 pm

    The government shut down those bakeries because they refused to serve a costumer just because of what they believe in. If I was a baker I would serve a cake that said “pedophilia and bestiality are sacred and great!” because my opinion on something has nothing to do with my job, and I don’t get to refuse service to someone just because their opinion doesn’t exactly line up with mine.

  15. Steven on April 22nd, 2016 12:39 pm

    The LGBTQ movement is a sad representation of the state of our country. Indeed, the principles by which our western society are founded on are in a terrible state of deterioration.

    I often hear that “love is love,” and while I do agree, the LGBTQ movement is not representative of love. It is merely an attempt to legitimize sexual deviancy and perversion. It is not a stereotype, but a fact that homosexuals are more likely to have AIDS. Clearly, it is sexuality that drives the LGBTQ movement.

    Furthermore, the argument that because it occurs elsewhere in the animal kingdom, it is “natural.” However, so is infanticide and cannibalism.

    We are not animals. The growth of the LGBTQ movement only continues to blur that line.

  16. A Concerned Christian on April 24th, 2016 12:18 am

    Preach man preach. Pro-same sex marriage is what’s politically correct nowadays but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right.

  17. Anisha Kapoor on April 24th, 2016 10:01 pm

    The pursuit of happiness is a right, and if being with someone makes someone happy then they should be entitled the right to live their lives the way they want to. EVERYONE NO MATTER, RACE, GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND RELIGION DESERVES LOVE, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!
    The Christian faith is a wonderful one. If God has created you then you are beautiful and are entitled to your point of view; however, God taught us to love and appreciate EVERYONE the way he loves us unconditionally.
    Romans 14:1 “As for the one who is weak in faith. Welcome him but, not to quarrel over opinions.”
    If you don’t support Gay marriage and equality that is fine, but as a concerned Christian please love God’s creations beautiful creations that come in all the colors of the rainbow.
    I love you, God bless <3

  18. Andy Mendez on April 25th, 2016 10:29 am

    It concerns me that a Christian of all people is speaking morally for others. Who are you to tell someone what is right and what is wrong? Because you blindly follow a being that is beyond any human comprehension, you should have more credibility? Let people love how they’d like to, and treat your neighbor like your messiah would have treated them.

    I only suggest you do this because it comes from the very book Christians tend to live and breathe.

  19. Kyle Smart on April 22nd, 2016 1:29 pm

    You say that his view on gay marriage is bigoted. I feel that the statement made is completely wrong. Bigoted? Do you know what that means? It means intolerance towards other beliefs. That would not make James here bigoted, in fact that would make you bigoted because you’re intolerant of his belief. I’m not saying I agree with it, at least for the homosexual portion of it, however I do not think that transgenderism is a thing. You are intolerant of his beliefs and most likely need to check your white male privilege.

  20. Anne on April 26th, 2016 7:46 pm

    Separation of church and state. Look it up. Religious views have nothing to do (or should have nothing to do) with equal rights in the law.

  21. Atheistic Observer on April 27th, 2016 7:53 am

    I’m seeing a lot of Christians voicing their opinions on this matter, and while that’s great, you really need to consider how people of the LGBTQ community have felt about themselves being restricted and silenced by being considerate of your beliefs. Also when it comes to the Christian Bakeries being shutdown, it’s due to the fact that their actions were purely denial of service. Nowadays, establishments would be shut down for denying a wedding cake to any couple just for 1+ of the partners race

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