The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) sponsors the Day of Silence, held annually on a Friday in April. It’s a time when students across the country take a solemn stand against the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth.
This year it’s April 12.
Day of Silence is a student-led national event where participants take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school. The first Day of Silence took place at the University of Virginia in 1996. Today students in middle school all the way through college participate.
Those who sign up for the Day of Silence hand out cards to others explaining their silence and why they have chosen not to talk.
Day of Silence - Survey Results
How to Observe Day of Silence
Register with GLSEN
Your registration allows the organization the opportunity to track how many people are taking part, and from where. It’s a great way to mobilize and show growth in the movement.
Let your teachers and school know
Work with your teachers and school to let them know you are participating, and why the day is important to you. Let them know you are trying to promote a safer and more inclusive environment for your fellow students, not just refusing to talk to get out of answering a question in class. Offer to make up for any missed work or opportunities to engage in class.
Keep the conversation going
After Day of Silence, continue to engage with your peers and community about the importance of the issues. Set up a group discussion with those who participated at your school to see how the silence made them feel. Put together a plan for next steps. Take any chance to attend related workshops, lectures, or working groups to find out more ways you can help.
Why Day of Silence is Important
The LBGTQ community stands at a higher risk for bullying
Students can face ridicule and torment from peers who don’t understand or support their orientation. A recent National School Climate Survey found that nearly 58% of LGBTQ students have felt unsafe in their school because of their sexual orientation.
Students standing in solidarity with their LGBTQ peers send a strong message of unity and encouragement. It shows others that bullying and torment are not acceptable behaviors and can lead to isolation and feelings of rejection. It also demonstrates that LGBTQ students have allies willing to stick up for them and fight for their rights.
It promotes a safe space for all students
"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” --Albert EinsteinDay of Silence enables students to stand up against that evil and encourages the school to follow suit. The goal is to foster a welcoming and accepting environment.