Day of Silence Raises Awareness of GLBT Issues
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On April 20, the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) held a Day of Silence to raise awareness of issues faced by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Participating students vowed not to talk during the school day.
According to GSA members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students feel they can’t have a say in society for fear of being ridiculed for their differences, so they remain silent. This event helped other students understand what it is like to be in the position of GLBT students.
Junior Lizzie Bream was one of the students who organized the event. During the Day of Silence she answered questions in a note. “We had a huge turnout, 30 to 40 [students]. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that when I first did it … there were three of us,” Bream wrote.
This event was not just for people who are gay. Straight students can also participate. There were challenges in communication of course, and moments when participants accidentally broke the silence. According to one participant, some teachers became frustrated by their students’ inability to participate in class.
To most teenagers, a school day is a very long time to refrain from conversing with friends, but most participants managed to follow through.
Despite the challenges, Day of Silence participants discovered important lessons and enjoyed their experience.
“I felt that it was the right thing to do to stick up for people that can’t stick up for themselves,” said junior Sam Cassara.
“It was a good experience. I felt like I learned something and that we are all part of a bigger picture,” said sophomore Haley Bogomolny.
“I feel kind-of cool as I walk the halls strutting with my day of silence sticker. It’s cool seeing which other people are participating and raising awareness,” said junior Emma Rubenstein.
Some participants felt the importance of standing up for a cause.
Bogomolny said, “I also felt like we were in this together as a school, and it felt great to come together for a common cause” … “I am strongly against discrimination of any kind. Everyone deserves equal rights, and no one should be treated different because of their sexual orientation, race or gender.”
“I liked that those who did the Day of Silence created a type of bond. It shows that people care enough to support this,” said sophomore Abby Ordillas.
“I feel like this is a nice effort to spread the word, but I feel like more action could be taken – like through assemblies and spreading knowledge about tolerance,” said Ordillas.
GSA members would like to see LGTB speakers come to BHS and address issues of bullying, raising levels of empathy toward people who are different. In addition, GSA members would like to see more students participate in this event – hopefully the majority of the school. Lastly, they would like to hold more events to raise awareness throughout the year, instead of just once.
“I’d just like to thank everyone who made this possible,” said Bream. “…Ms. Piper for being our adviser, Mr. Lerner for giving us organizational advice, and of course… Mr. Chase, who helped us by sending everyone the list of names.”