“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.” ~ GLSEN Day of Silence Speaking Cards.
The National Day of Silence on Friday, April 19 is a student-led day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in schools. As we approach the 18th annual Day of Silence, opponents are still attacking the event
This year Mission: America’s Linda Harvey voiced a series of false claims against the Day of Silence. GLSEN responded with this video to place her remarks in context.
Daryl Presgraves, GLSEN’s Director of Communications, spoke to BuzzFeed about this year’s Day of Silence.
Have there been attacks on GLSEN’s Day of Silence in the past? And is this particular incident different?
DP: The Day of Silence is a particular target every year because it’s so effective. I have no data to back this up, but I believe students who participated in GLSEN’s Day of Silence through the years and formed and joined Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs are a main reason we see such high approval among young adults for marriage equality. The young adult generation of LGBT people has been visible like never before, and the Day of Silence gave a platform and a voice to a generation of young activists.
One of the main attacks anti-gay extremists still use is to encourage parents to force their kids to skip school to ensure that they don’t hear a message of acceptance and respect. What’s most offensive about the tactic is that 32% of LGBT youth miss at least a day of school each month because they don’t feel safe…
What are the different issues LGBT students are currently facing today? How have these problems changed from the very first Day of Silence back in 1996?
DP: GLSEN has documented the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth since 1999 in our National School Climate Survey. We’ve consistently seen pervasive and extreme levels of harassment. The good news is, in 2011 we saw for the first time an increase in access to systems of support and a decrease in victimization. But the reality is, we’re still talking about 81.9% of LGBT youth who experience harassment each year simply because of who they are…
Read the full interview at Buzzfeed.
How Can I Help?
If you are not a student, there are a number of things you can do. First, encourage the youth and young adults in your life to participate in the Day of Silence. Second, take some time to read the 2011 National School Climate Survey. It is the only national study that for over a decade has consistently examined the experiences of LGBTQ students in America’s schools. Third, contact your representatives in Washington and ask them to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act.