The GLSEN Day of Silence is an annual event that is meant to bring attention to the harassment and bullying that member of the LGBT community face on a daily basis. The organization states that its goal is to "encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT." I have never been a part of a school or organization that promotes this event, however, I have participated in past years. This year was different, though.
As a child, my passion was in music and dance. Due to my interest in the arts, I often came across people who were either member of the LGBT community or were stereotyped as such. These people were not only my teachers and friends, but they were people that I aspired to be.
As I grew older, my interests lied in makeup and YouTube. Again, it isn't uncommon nowadays to come across men with a talent and passion that involves makeup or acting on the Internet. This is important because, growing up, this was the norm. I didn't see anything wrong with loving someone of the same gender. I never thought that it was wrong for a boy to dress up and put on a show. I never thought it was unusual for a girl to excel in athletics.
I may not be a member of the LGBT community, but oftentimes these were the people that I looked up to. So on Friday, April 15, I took a vow of silence to support a cause very close to my heart. In past years, I have participated in the Day of Silence, but this year I had a better understanding of what I was raising awareness for. So I wrote a couple of notecards that read "Day of Silence" and "In support of the LGBT community." There were many people who were unaware of the event and were confused as to why our school didn't support it. However, there were also people that mocked me and were rather arrogant once they found out what I was doing.
Overall, participating in this event made me realize a lot. Not only does bullying make people feel lesser, it really does take silence to fight back. It is sad that people are stripped of their natural, human rights, and there are times that protests and rallies are the only way to gain those rights back. However, silence can be powerful in many situations; it shows that people's hatred is not as powerful as they think it is.
I encourage everyone to partake in Day of Silence and raise awareness within your school community. There are people out there who are still very ignorant to the idea of gay marriage, cross-dressing, etc. As I've mentioned before, these people are my friends, my relatives, and my idols. Sometimes silence can be more powerful than words. So use your power to make a difference. It is the time that everyone is viewed as equal, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality.