National Day of Silence is the one day a year where staying silent shows your support more than speaking out for the LGBT+ community. Every year thousands of students ranging from middle school to college participate by staying silent for the day to show their support. They stay silent because they are showing how the silence affects those who either identify as LGBT+ or are perceived to identify as LGBT+ are left silent due to the bullying and harassment they endure. This year National Day of Silence falls on Friday, April 21st.
Personally, I have participated in the day for the last four years and plan on continuing my streak to show my support for a community that I a part of. I came out as bisexual during my first year of high school and faced a huge backlash of verbal harassment from my peers. I thankfully had a Gay Straight Alliance at my school and quickly became strongly committed to trying to fight for this community. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am to have that in their area, or don’t feel safe enough to join, and that’s why I participate. These students who constantly live in fear are why I fight so hard everyday.
Thankfully, I have never experienced anything too terrible. Mostly I was just told that I was a slut, how I had no idea what I wanted, and I was even referred to as "the gay bitch," to my own father. I however, did have several LGBT students in my high school commit suicide and the families often felt that bullying led to that choice. It left many students scared, especially considering at any moment it could be another one of our friends.
This event began in 1996 in a Virginia college and became a national effort in 1997 with nearly 150 colleges with participating students. Since it started it has grown exponentially. It’s an incredibly important event as many students are still suffering from physical, emotional and sometimes even sexual assault for either identifying as LGBT+ or being perceived to identify as LGBT+. Many students even skip school as they fear for their safety due to the harassment they face.
Almost anyone can organize and participate in National Day of Silence at their school, and it all begins by raising awareness of the event and the importance of it. You can register for the event here: http://action.glsen.org/page/s/DOSREG.With our new president and administration I feel that participation National Day of Silence has grown even more. More and more people are finding it okay to go against the LGBT+ community and violence against us has spiked again. We deserve better. We deserve to feel safe and accepted, especially in the schools that we are spending a large amount of time at. It’s been proven that when students feel accepted and included grades benefit as well as self-esteem. So I am asking every single person to please show their support and participate.