What Is It?:
The Day of Silence is an annual event designed to bring attention to anti-gay bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Participating teachers and students spend a day without speaking to highlight the fact that many people in the GLBT community are forced to remain silent about who they are.
The first Day of Silence happened in 1996 at the University of Virginia and involved 150 participants.
Today, the event is organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network in collaboration with the United States Student Association.
Close to 2000 middle schools, high schools,and universities across the United States have groups that participate in this event.
GLBT students still experience harassment at school and the Day of Silence draws attention to this issue is a very noticeable way.
Over the past 12 years the event has grown greatly and numerous gay and straight organizations have participated in the event.
The Day of Silence not only has an effect on the greater society, it also affects individuals who participate.
As one participant wrote:
"I was really lucky. Some of my (completely heterosexual) friends joined in, so there was six people in our school who didn't speak. Three guys (One gay-which was myself, one bisexual, and one straight) and three girls (one lesbian and two heterosexuals). It was lots of fun. As for getting the point across, our teachers for all our classes read out sheets that explained why we where silent, and we wrote note to each other instead of talking."
Holding a Day of Silence:
To find out how to have a Day of Silence at your school, check out the Day of Silence website.