GSA’s Day of Silence on Friday

Lauren Kalina, News Writer

Picture from GLSEN.org

This Friday marks an important event to support LGBTQ rights; the Day of Silence, sponsored by the Spectrums (GSA) group. Students are encouraged to participate and support the fight against sexual orientation-based bullying.

Day of Silence is a nationwide movement run by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). On April 17, many students in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country (and even in some other countries) will pledge to be silent during the school day in some capacity. The event’s purpose is to raise awareness of the name-calling, bullying, and harassment that many LGBTQ students suffer at school. The silence of the participators during the day represents how being bullied “silences” these students.

This day is for showing that actions really do speak louder than words”

— Naomi Untinen

To further promote awareness, Spectrums has set up posters around the school with statistics on LGBTQ bullying. Some facts include: 80% of LGBTQ students have been bullied because of their identity, 50% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, and 41% of transgender people kill themselves (compared to only 2% of the entire population). Naomi Untinen of Spectrums says that “being gay isn’t just about getting marriage equality. There are so many other struggles faced by the LGBTQ community that most people don’t even think twice about. That’s why the Day of Silence is here to bring awareness to these issues.”

Untinen says that “you can participate in whatever capacity you’re comfortable with:” From remaining completely silent all day, to being quiet only at lunch and between classes, to just wearing rainbow or tie-dye clothes to show your support. Since the day is all about raising awareness, there are many creative options you could take. Officially, students have the legal right to be silent, but you do have to respond if a staff member wants to speak with you. GLSEN recommends letting your teachers know in advance if you are planning to be silent. Participating in the event likely won’t cause issues at Eagan, as the school has held it annually for about five years already. If you do choose to participate, GLSEN would greatly appreciate it if you register at http://www.dayofsilence.org/getinvolved/. Registering helps the organization get feedback and track the success of the project.

Students who participate in or support the event on Friday in any way should feel proud of their work. “It’s not just meant for being silent: You’re supposed to back up your silence with actions. This day is for showing that actions really do speak louder than words,” says Untinen.