Hundreds of thousands of students at thousands of schools around the world on Friday will participate in GLSEN’s (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) 19th annual “Day of Silence” by taking a vow of silence to draw attention to the anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination in schools.
“The Day of Silence has grown into one of the largest student-led actions in the world because of students’ determination to directly address the pervasive issue of anti-LGBT behavior and bias in our schools,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director.
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence was created by students at the University of Virginia with over 150 students participating in the inaugural event. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event with increasing participation every year.
The Day of Silence has since grown into a landmark event with students in more than 8,000 schools participating.
On Friday, to again call attention to the harmful effects of anti-LGBT bullying, participating students will take a vow of silence throughout the school day, unless asked to participate in class.
Many students will hand out speaking cards (available here), which read:
“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. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.”
This year, GLSEN is also encouraging Day of Silence student participants and their supporters to tweet their participation using the hashtag #DayofSilence, and update their social media profile with Day of Silence graphics (available here).
Information regarding your rights to participate in the Day of Silence is here, and GLSEN has advised students who experience resistance to Day of Silence activities from school staff to submit an incident report at www.dayofsilence.org/legalhelp.
More on the Day of Silence from GLSEN: