Why I Will Never Take Part in the “Day of Silence”

How can you possibly initiate change when you’re unwilling to speak out against oppression and injustice?

Despite the obvious contradiction, countless LGBT students participate in the Day of Silence every year. According to GLSEN, the backwards rationale behind this vow of silence is that it is meant to “[bring] awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying[,] and harassment in schools.” Essentially, LGBT students attempt to bring attention to the silence that’s been forced upon them…by being complicit and remaining silent. Ironically enough, GLSEN does encourage readers on their page about the Day of Silence to “make [their] voice heard.”

And that’s exactly what we need to do.

We spend the other 364 days of the year being silent. Whether out of fear for our jobs and/or safety at the hands of anti-LGBT bullies or out of plain old uncertainty as to what to say, we spend our whole lives being submissive and quiet in the face of discrimitation. Our comminity is full of closeted LGBT youth and victims of physical and verbal attacks who are scared or unable to speak out. What we need is not another day to be quiet — another day to wordlessly endure harrassment. What we need is to stand together and speak, because at the heart of any movement is the willingness to talk.

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it” — Zora Neale Hurston


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