National Day of Silence
National Day of Silence:
Observed annually On Second Friday in April, the National Day of Silence sheds light on the disastrous effects of bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students in schools. This day students across the US take a vow of silence to illustrate the silencing effect when LGBTQ students are bullied.
|2022||8th April||Friday||United States|
|2023||14th April||Friday||United States|
|2024||12th April||Friday||United States|
Why Day of Silence?
What started as a class assignment in 1996, became a national sensation by 1997! The Day of Silence was first organized at the University of Virginia by student leaders Maria Pulzetti and Jessie Gilliam. Pulzetti wanted to do something impactful at school for the upcoming Pride week as she felt that the complaints and concerns about harassment of LGBTQ students were ignored consistently by administrators and parents as well.
And this drove them to the idea of having a Day of Silence to stand up against harassment and bullying of the LGBTQ. She believed that their vow of silence could help people notice, become aware of bullying and harassment against this community.
Bullying and harassment be it in physical or verbal form can leave the victim scarred for life. Bullies also try to harass by intimidation, damaging property, or manipulation. The effects of bullying can be destructive to the individual and the surrounding community irrespective of the form of bullying or harassment.
So, this day aims to create awareness among middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students against the discrimination of the LGBTQ. This day has been organized by GLSEN every year since 2000 and encourages students to get permission from their schools to participate or organize it on their campus.
This event also helps them to demonstrate their support towards the LGBTQ, highlighting their issues and promoting their rights through colorful posters. The participants observe silence by also wearing X-shaped tapes over their mouths or hands to call attention to their observance.
At the end of the day, a silent rally, speaking event, or staged theatrics are organized to illustrate to the participants and observers how name-calling, bullying, intimidation can silence the victims, often killing their self-confidence.
Today over ten thousand people from all the 50 states of the country participate in the day of silence. This number not only includes schools but also the working population and other countries including Russia, New Zealand, and Singapore. This day is gaining momentum year after year as people are increasingly becoming aware of the issues faced by LGBTQ youth.
This day also faces tremendous opposition from various schools, parents, and socially conservative organizations as it was considered disruptive and seen as supporting homosexuality. But many support it through their school’s LGBTQ alliance clubs.
How Can We Observe National Day of Silence:
- Join the movement!
Take a vow of silence to show your support against the discrimination of LGBTQ youth. The silence helps students and other people around you notice the issues concerning them! You could register with GLSEN to join the event or organize it on your campus!
- Mobilize others to join in!
Encourage your friends, family, and classmates to join the movement and show their support! You can share lessons and statistics on the issues faced by LGBTQ to help them understand the intensity of the matter.
- Get equipped on LGBTQ issues
There is plenty of material available online and also blogs are available on GLSEN’s websites to know more about the issues faced by the LGBTQ community.
- Discourage Bullying
You can stop bullying at its roots when you educate children against bullying and help them understand the differences. It is also good if you as seniors, older students, teachers, and parents can help them to seek help when they are bullied.
- Observe it on social media
Educate and encourage your friends, acquaintances, and followers on social media about the discrimination against LGBTQ and spread awareness by taking the vow of silence today! You could also share valuable blogs, articles, podcasts, pictures, videos, and podcasts to help spread awareness! Use #NationalDayOfSilence and #DayOfSilence to post on social media today!
Interesting Facts About National Day of Silence:
Here are some facts surrounding the National Day Of Silence:
- Over 50% of the LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe in their schools
- 42% of the LGBTQ people felt unwelcome in their regular environment
- LGBQ youth experience twice the bullying and physical harassment as their straight peers
- 77% are optimistic that their sexual identity and their acceptance will improve
- Unacceptance from their families is their biggest problem
- Over 80% of these youths also face severe social isolation
- The Matthew Shepard Act was approved in 2009 and outlaws hate crimes against gender identity and sexual orientation.
- Same-sex marriage is legalized in nineteen states of the US and the District of Columbia
History of National Day of Silence:
The Day of Silence was first observed in 1996 by a group of students from the University of Virginia. It was led by the then-student leaders’ Maria Pulzetti and Jessie Gilliam. In 1997, over 100 colleges and universities took part making it a national event. Since 2000, GLSEN, an American LGBTQ education organization has made this day their official project! Today over ten thousand participants registered with GLSEN to take a vow of silence.