I read Alec’s post about the Day of Silence and immediately wanted to participate. LGBT bullying and harassment is a major problem in the United States and the world, and the Day of Silence is a creative way to bring attention to this.
A day or two before, I posted about the Day of Silence on social media. I printed cards that explained why I wasn’t speaking (you can view them here). A few of my friends asked for cards and they agreed to do it with me. I was so excited!
Then it was April 17th. I started the day off by posting a picture on Instagram. GLSEN asked participants to post “Selfies For Silence” on social media and to their website. Here’s mine:
“Silence is fear of being yourself. Today I am silent for the millions of people who are put down or ashamed of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
I stopped speaking as soon as I walked into school. It was strange not speaking to people, but it was tolerable. I’m a generally quiet person. It was not easy. By last block, I felt so lonely. A few of my friends spoke to me by paper and pen to support me, but others just didn’t communicate with me at all. It shocked me that I felt offended, but I did. I even got some strange looks from people when I told them about the Day of Silence.
During lunch, I stuck a card on the mirror encouraging those afraid to come out.
I gave a card with an explanation of what I was doing to my English teacher. She was fine with it. She even discussed it with the class. “Is there anyone else not speaking today?” she asked. People were confused, so she talked about how the Day of Silence is a movement of solidarity for LGBT youth.
Then I realized that LGBT youth who are bullied feel like that. It’s like hearing people say things about you, but being unable to stop it.
Breaking the silence with my friends was so enriching. I walked on the bus and they were still silent. We decided to break the silence by speaking at 4 PM. Doing that together made me feel a little less alone and gave us a sense of unity. I had gotten some questionable looks and comments from people, and that brought me down. But having friends who went through the difficulties of not speaking really helped.
The LGBT community is there to give people a safe place. It could prevent suicide. The whole purpose of the Day of Silence is to stand apart from what happens every day and show that you support those affected by LGBT bullying.
Want to participate in the Day of Silence next year? It will be on April 15, 2016.