Other stories filed under Opinion
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Quiet is Violent
April 22, 2016
In 1996 at the University of Virginia, 150 students participated in the very first Day of Silence for an assignment on nonviolent protests. In 1997, nearly 100 colleges and universities participated and it 2001, it became a national awareness day organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The Day of Silence is an event created to honor members of the LGBT community who have been left voiceless by harassment and bullying. So, in honor of the LGBT students who have been silenced, those who participate are silent for the whole day. And if you do participate, you can hand out cards that say the following:
“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”
The National Day of Silence is a protest against homophobia and discrimination which, a lot of people don’t seem to realize the effects of. The 2013 National School Climate Survey, a survey given by GLSEN, reported that 9 out of 10 LGBT students were harassed verbally, physically, or sexually.
“What are you going to do to end the silence?”
A national study found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers. Another study with about 55 transgender students showed that 25 percent had attempted suicide. The stresses put on LGBT youth often lead to a higher risk of depression, substance abuse, and reckless endangerment.
But there are other ways for schools to show their support besides the Day of Silence. Preventing violence, bullying and harassment, and encouraging respect, identifying safe spaces like the counselor’s office, and creating a safe welcoming school club for LGBT students. LCHS has accomplished the latter, with the GSA club every Tuesday from 2:30 to 3:15 in Art room 1. There, students can meet in a safe environment to talk about LGBT rights worldwide, and acceptance within our school.
Their goal is to create acceptance not just at Lake City, but in the community. Joining the club isn’t a statement of preference, rather a statement of commitment to human rights.
You can make a difference toward this cause too. There are many ways you can help your LGBT classmates. Talk and listen, provide support, and be proactive.
Although last year the USA made gay marriage legal in all fifty states, the fight still isn’t over. Only 20 out of an estimated 194 countries have made gay marriage legal. The fight is far from over. Homophobic slurs and harassment are still common, and the word gay is treated as an insult. In some countries, being LGBT can result in execution, denial of housing, employment, or health services, and torture. Homophobia is not “a thing of the past”. It still exists and any bit of support you can show helps. Let’s make Lake City a place where people can feel accepted and safe.