For one day only in schools and universities across America, you won’t hear about gay rights, the LGBT movement, or how LGBT people in America are being harassed and bullied. This silence can be deafening.
It’s the GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) National Day of Silence, begun at the University of Virginia and this year celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The National Day of Silence came from a student led action by Maria Pulzetti at the University of Virginia in 1996. From there it grew into a national event.
The idea behind the Day of Silence is to spread awareness of the chilling effect that anti-LGBT bullying and harassment has, in effect turning the silence that used to be imposed on LGBT issues into an empowering moment of solidarity where LGBT people as well as their family and friends can come together and show they are a force for inclusion and acceptance.
GLSEN’s latest National School Climate Survey shows that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students reported being verbally or physically harassed at school in the past year.
The Day of Silence is an answer to the anti-LGBT attitudes that propel these hateful incidents because it gives the power back to LGBT youth themselves. The GLSEN’s National Student Council came to one important conclusion: that the Day of Silence is a chance to reclaim silence as a tool of empowerment. Together, they agreed on a resounding message to encapsulate their participation in the Day of Silence this year: Silence is ours.
When LGBT students take back silence as their own today, they’ll be making a statement without saying a word — and this time, their silence won’t go unheard.
Click the links below to learn how you can show your support today:
Take a Selfie for Silence here: action.glsen.org/page/s/selfies