Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Day of Silence & Obama's Bedside Inclusion

Today is the National Day of Silence, which means that all around the country young men and women will be keeping silent in solidarity with their gay, lesbian, and transgender classmates. According to the homepage of Day of Silence, its purpose is:

The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.

Ending harassment? Stopping bullying, name-calling, and victimization? I LOVE IT!

The event was started in 1996 at the University of Virginia as a project concerning non-violent protests. 150 students participated in that year's event. By 1997 the event went nationwide and involved at least 100 colleges and universities. The event has now expanded to include middle schools and high schools.

In 2008, hundreds of thousands of students from more than 8,000 K-12 schools, colleges and universities organized Day of Silence events. These numbers make the Day of Silence one of the largest student-led actions in the United States. The event has drawn significant attention to LGBT issues in schools over the years. For example, GLSEN spokespersons have appeared on national media outlets and there has always been extensive local media coverage from coast to coast, with numerous interviews with students.

You can make a difference, despite your age. Don't be discouraged, though. Every year there are outcries at schools around the country stating that this silence is unnecessary, a disturbance, wrong, glorifying a disturbing and evil lifestyle... Blah Blah Blah. Please don't let these conservative naysayers stop you from a completely legal, completely allowed, completely nonviolent and unintrusive movement.

In honor of this day, and in remembrance of my own victimization at the hands of countless bullies (both verbal and physical), I will be remaining silent until the end of the average school day. If you know me, you know what a sacrifice this is.

In similar and totally awesome news: President Obama has extended bedside hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners. Now, if you're in the hospital, the government will not stop you from seeing your loved one who, in many sad cases, is the only family some have. This is an act of progress. This is an act of true change. This is an act that no Republican would have ever pushed through.

Bravo, Mr. Obama. You are steadily making me a believer. Thank you for giving me rights I should have as a human, as a citizen of this planet. Thank you for seeing me as a first-class citizen and recognizing that my love is just as real and just as valuable as a straight person's.

Will YOU be joining in on the Day of Silence? What do YOU think about Obama's extension of civil rights? IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com Send me your thoughts! Or, leave a comment below.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

6 comments:

  1. As odd as it may sound given my orientation, I have a problem with a National Day of Silence.

    Why? Because I believe we should have a National Day of Speaking the Hell UP instead. People can ignore silence a lot more easily than they can ignore signs, pro-GBLT messages on T-shirts, and conversations on how bullying of GBLT students has extended to an insistence that other students act like stereotypes. (Naturally, a lot of this would have to happen in cafeterias, in hallways between classes, and before and after school. But that would be enough.)

    Two-thirds of high school students are bullied for being overly effete or tomboyish. These children are called "fags" and "dykes," having homophobic threats written on their lockers, beaten for being GBLT whether they are or not. Half of these kids commit suicide just to escape the bullying.

    That's right. Because of homophobia, the number of teenagers who are driven to suicide by anti-gay bullying is three times as high as the estimated number of GBLT teens. It is past time something was done about this. For the gay kids, for the lesbian kids, for the bisexual kids, for the intersex and transgendered kids, and for the straight kids.

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  2. I wanted to participate in the Day of Silence but I completely forgot today was the 16. I suck. Also, I'm a teacher and kind of have to talk, so I would've either taken the day off, or spent a lot of time pointing at the board with my markers.

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  3. I've never heard of the day of silence before! I assume its because I'm English and we don't have it (and that all the schools and universities are still out) but yay! It sounds like a good project.
    I think its great to see those who might not be GLBT campaigning with those who are GLBT. It's nice to see the compassion of humanity poking its little head out again!
    On Obama's extension of rights another YAY!! That's awesome. I know it can be so difficult if loved ones can't see their sick partners because they aren't related. So go Obama. I'm always up for promoting equal human rights.
    xx Aria

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