Friday marked the 19th Annual Day of Silence, a movement in schools and universities to call attention to the issue of LGBT bullying and harassment among youth.
Organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the day is marked by teens spending the day in silence as a symbol of the “silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias and behavior.” The organization estimates that hundreds of thousands of LGBT and allied students at more than 8,000 schools participated in the event this year, many wearing shirts, stickers or pins to explain their reason for silence.
In United States schools, eight in ten lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and nearly two-thirds were harassed because of their gender expression.
That’s why GLSEN supports the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act—two bills that work together to ensure schools nationwide are free of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
You can make a difference. Click here to send a message to your representative in Washington calling on them to support SSIA and SNDA. Your voice is important and you can be part of making schools safer for LGBT students. We need your help!
Today is the Day of Silence. Thousands of students across the country are taking a vow of silence today to symbolize the silencing of LGBT youth through bullying and harassment. Instead of speaking, they carry around cards explaining that today is a day to illustrate what it’s like when thousands of people are suddenly silent. When silence is forced onto you, it’s a form of oppression; when it’s deliberate and collective, it’s a form of protest.
You all know I work at GLSEN, particularly in the department that runs this campaign, so today is near and dear to me. When I was in high school, I was mostly closeted, there was no gay-straight alliance or openly queer teacher, and while I knew what the Day of Silence was, I was terrified to participate. Today, there are schools where literally hundreds of students – and even teachers – take a vow of silence for the day, and they explain to everyone ahead of time that they’re doing it specifically to get people thinking about homophobia and transphobia in schools. I wish this had been a resource for me in high school, but I’m so proud to help the students who own it today.
To add your name to the list of activists participating, sign up here.
Created in 1996 by Maria Pulzetti at the University of Virginia, Day of Silence is an annual day of action against bullying and harassment towards LGBTQ+ students and their supporters. Since 2000, Day of Silence is organized by GLSEN (American Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
Every year, thousands of students across America are participating in the event in middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. This year, Day of Silence will be held on April 17, and TMHFN/Rainbow Direction encourages all its supporter to take a day-long vow of silence as a symbol of all the LGBTQ+ students and supporters who are silenced.
As complete silence might be impossible for many reasons (work, school, family), we invite you to stay silent on your social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc) and/or set this graphic as your profile picture today.
Thank you all for your participation!
“There are times when silence has the loudest voice.”
Coinciding with Asexual Awareness Week this year is Ally Week. Before you yell at me, check out GLSEN’s brand spanking new Ally Week campaign which – spoiler alert – I helped create. This week isn’t about holding allies above LGBTQ people or suggesting that you deserve a cookie just for being a good person. Here’s what it’s about:
Encouraging non-LGBTQ people to be allies – because we need as many of them as we can get.
Encouraging LGBTQ people to be allies for one another and for other marginalized groups. (For example, teaching privileged queer people how to pay attention to the issues of less-privileged queer people.)
Learning about how to be better allies, even if you already think you know all about it. (Hence the “What do you know? What can you learn?” message.)
Learning what an ally’s place in the movement should be. (Hence the “When do you step up? When do you step back?” message.)
Being an ally is more than slapping a rainbow sticker on your laptop and saying you have gay friends. That’s why GLSEN is challenging people everywhere to think about what makes you an ally, and how we can all be better ones. (via GLSEN)
Even though something terrible did happen you don’t have to pretend it didn’t happen, you don’t have to pretend it’s better but you can grow from it. You can make something positive afterwards and just remember that every negative experience isn’t a road that’s blocked, the road keeps going and you can change the direction it goes in.
I hate the new liberal/ally push to downplay someone’s coming out (“They said ‘I’m gay’ and I said 'cool, wanna play cod?’”)
Put yourself in their shoes. They just shared a huge part of their identity with you, a part that is marginalized and oppressed. They know that sharing that information with just anyone is extremely dangerous, but they trust you enough to let you know. There could be a million things running through their heads. They might be scared. They might want to feel relief. They might feel joyous. Either way, it is a huge event to them. It is important. Don’t play it off, fucking listen and acknowledge it like you would any other important news.
You’re not a better friend or supporter for trying to downplay something like that. It actually just makes you an asshole.
GLSEN’s #SpotTheSticker campaign is in full swing! Spot a Safe Space sticker or poster at your school? Take a picture and share it with us to spread the word about why LGBT youth deserve safe, affirming and respectful spaces at school.
Learn more about how you can participate and help make schools safer for LGBT youth!
today is transgender awareness day. this is a day to memorialize those whose lives we have unfortunately lost due to anti-transgender fear, bigotry and hatred. if you would like to sign the pledge and know more about your rights and how you can take action then go here. if you would like to learn more about the people we lost this year go here