Fighting homophobia with Day of Silence

Vanja Skotnes

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Today students across the world protest against homophobia in schools.

The Day of Silence is an annual day of action to protest the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, and is led by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Students are silent to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBT persons.

Over 8,000 schools and universities in the US, and many more across the world, are participating by not saying a word.

Students who participate in the protest are handing out cards that read the following:

“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”

According to the 2011 National School Climate Survey – a study carried out by GLSEN – eight out of ten LGBT students experienced harassment at school in their previous year. Nearly six in ten of LGBT students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation.

The Day of Silence was founded in 1996, and has become the largest student-led movement towards creating safer schools for all.

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Vanja Skotnes

As a former journalist for Amnesty International, I will use this blog to write about human rights abuses. My intention is to create more awareness. Follow my posts and stay updated. Twitter: @vanjaskotnes