The Day of Silence
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Across the globe hundreds of thousands of voices have been silenced by society and it’s prejudices against the LGBT+ community. They feel pressured to keep their identity a secret, to be forced to become someone who they aren’t.
On April 15th there is a national Day of Silence, an event that shows support for the LGBT+ community. People participate by staying silent for the day through a vow of silence, with some exceptions. This raises awareness about the oppression of people’s identities, and how people are forced to stay silent by our hostile society. Many people choose to remain “closeted” because they are terrified of how the community will accept them. Hundreds of stories of abused and LGBT+ people circulate the internet, and they all become reasons to keep a major part of yourself a secret from society and even from your family. By raising awareness by remaining silent, people will begin to realize that there are those that remain silent because of their actions, and it shows the damage that is being done by discriminating against the community.
The Day of Silence also effectively makes a safer place for the LGBT+ community to be themselves and to show support to those who have yet to come out of the closet. By showing support through our silence those that are afraid of coming out can realize that they have the support of hundreds of people around them. This can comfort them and make them realize that there is nothing wrong with having a different preference or sexual identity.
The movement also raises awareness about abuse and slurs against LGBT+ people. According to GLSEN, nine out of ten LGBT+ students said that they experience harassment in school and many feel that they would rather not attend school at all rather than deal with those that are horrible to them. Abuse is recognized in this event, and the event also is a movement for the school to recognize slurs and discrimination against the community faster and punish those that do it. Racism is not tolerated, why should this kind of discrimination be ignored?
The event is mainly organized by GLSEN, or Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. Their main webpage can be found here. An organization that works to educate grades K through 12 about discrimination and how it is okay for people to have different sexual identities. They have many other programs including No Name Calling Week, a week dedicated to slurs against the LGBT+ community that makes people realize just how much they put others down, Think B4 You Speak, a program that wants to end the use of phrases that make members of the LGBT+ community uncomfortable such as “that’s so gay”, and Safe Space Kits, a kit that helps schools create a safer environment for students.