Every April, BSGE participates in a nationwide event called the Day of Silence. The day highlights how it is unfortunately common for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be discriminated against in the United States. By participating in the Day of Silence, whether someone is just supporting or actually silent, students send a message of acceptance and support to LGTBQ+ teenagers across the country.
A member of BSGE’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance club explains that “the Day of Silence, for some, is a way to evade participating in class. For others, it’s a way to show the people of the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone.”
During the 2016 Day of Silence, many students observed concerning behavior. An anonymous 9th grader felt that “some people used the Day of Silence not to show support but because it benefited them in their school day. They felt that they could use it to avoid participating in class.” They added, “I saw that a few students went to the extent where they took the card on and off as if it were an accessory, but ultimately should have taken the event more seriously since the Day of Silence is about a real problem.”
The Day of Silence is essentially a form of protest, in which the minority combats the views of the majority. However, in BSGE, virtually every student participates in some way, whether silent or supporting. Does the Day of Silence lose its purpose in such an environment?
Most students in BSGE understand the dangers of being LGBTQ+, but this understanding would be completely different in a place like Mississippi. The effect of an event like the Day of Silence in a rural Southern school, for example, would be a lot more prominent, since many students would be discouraged from participating. Probably only a select few would be willing to take a risk and wear a bright red card labeling them as pro-LGBTQ+ in front of potentially homophobic peers.
It’s important to know that by being silent, somebody makes a covenant stating that they will not talk because they are representing the hardships that other people have to go through for being openly LGBTQ+.
Ignoring this commitment is ultimately a slap in the face for all those who feel uncomfortable with revealing their true selves, sometimes even facing the threat of losing their lives.
The next time that the Day of Silence comes around, contemplate your choice carefully and make sure that you are willing to make a sacrifice for a good cause.