Bullying | News

The Silence is Deafening


GLSEN's 14th annual Day of Silence to bring awareness about anti-gay bullying is happening today and I've hardly heard a peep from the national media this year, and much less from anti-gay groups as well (maybe because they're at home taking care of the kids they stopped from going to school). Thousands of school kids across the nation have taken a vow of silence.

Keep Carl Walker-Hoover, Lawrence King and other victims of anti-gay bullying in your thoughts today.

Lance Bass' 2009 PSA on the Day of Silence, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. OK - so I'm a bit confused about how silence is going to raise awareness....isn't discussion about the issue more important? Or am I being dim?

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 16, 2010 12:12:40 PM

  2. @Steve: I agree completely. While I am totally supportive of the idea of an event that raises awareness of gay rights issues among school children, I think that the "Day of Silence" model is a terrible way to do it, both symbolically and practically. Historically, silence was the only choice available to gays--why perpetuate more of it, especially when an event like this affords an opportunity for speaking up about their issues? I really have never understood this concept, or why anyone at GLSEN ever thought it was a good idea. On their website, they ask, "What are YOU going to do to end the silence?"--it makes no sense that the answer to that question would be "stay silent." When I was a child, the loudest message coming from gay activists was "Silence = Death"; now, apparently, gay folks have turned to telling kids the exact opposite.

    Posted by: Thomasina | Apr 16, 2010 1:25:33 PM

  3. Add me to the list of those who think the "day of silence" is a flawed concept. It seems overly esoteric, promoting drama and symbolism over what we need the most -- plain dialogue.

    I also think that the unintentional side-effect is that silence, to many, equals passivity. Finally, in the context of a raucous high school hallway between periods or lunchroom, it must come off as equal parts holier-than-thou, and dorky.

    Posted by: zenflo | Apr 16, 2010 2:21:16 PM

  4. I totally agree with you guys. Silence cannot convey the message that the other kids need to hear. It creates an environment of ostracism (in both directions). Not good.

    Posted by: Coxygru | Apr 16, 2010 2:28:11 PM

  5. One more point: Yes, you won't hear too much from anti-gay groups concerning this event.

    Since we have, in effect, silenced ourselves, haters can take the day off; ironically, quite a number did just that.

    I wish that GLSEN would take a second look at Day of Silence and consider new and more productive options.

    As well, I may go looking to post on their website later, but something tells me I'll be flamed to within an inch of my editorial life.

    Posted by: zenflo | Apr 16, 2010 4:39:58 PM

  6. Add me to those questioning whether this is the best approach. A "Day of Silence" is also something that, by its very nature, makes any kid participating have to do exactly what his or her teachers want their students to do anyway: be quiet all day except when asked a question in class.

    Psychology 101 would suggest this makes kids associate the "Day of Silence" with obedience rather than challenging any status quo, and simultaneously makes them do something inherently annoying to a lot of them. Not exactly what we want in making this something kids are going to want to follow through on.

    There's got to be a better, more effective concept than "Day of Silence."

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Apr 16, 2010 5:36:19 PM

  7. We all seem to be on the same bus - so send an email to info at dayofsilence dot org and tell them that we don't get it.

    We shouldn't be silent about how this silence campaign doesn't work!

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 16, 2010 6:31:12 PM

  8. Sounds like the White House is having a day of silence on their memorandum (NOT EXECUTIVE ORDER) concerning hospital visitation rights for gay partners...no announcement, no speech...just a big ole email.

    Posted by: NYSmike | Apr 16, 2010 8:48:22 PM

  9. At this strange hour, I sent our comments, verbatim, to Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN.

    I cross-posted them at two GLSEN sites related to Day of Silence.

    While I know there are many haters out that have somehow mastered typing skills, I still found it somewhat ironic that Day of Silence blog comments are only viewable after approval by the moderator(!).

    I will be tenacious in getting these comments posted at GLSEN, but just wondering: Is anyone here still following this on the T-road?

    Posted by: zenflo | Apr 17, 2010 5:57:50 AM

  10. Here's an example of what kids go through when participating in Day of Silence.

    It is taken, verbatim, from a teen's post at the GLSEN site's "Message from GLSEN ED Eliza Byard About Importance of Day of Silence":

    "me and many of my friends are taking part today and we all live in this little redneck, hilbilly town called huffman,TX and the whole day we have heard nothing but fag and one chick came up to some of us and said "gay is not the way", and now some stupid kids are making these silence for straights in mocking day of silence. but we have held strong, because we strongly believe in this."

    My heart goes out to these brave kids who are the subject of all-day ridicule due to a very ill-conceived (albeit well-intentioned) Day of Silence.

    Posted by: zenflo | Apr 17, 2010 3:07:45 PM

  11. SILENCE = DEATH....EVERYONE please READ THIS and pass it on! The most powerful and important weapon we all have against bullies and other injustice, is our VOICE! Whether we’re little tikes or adults, our VOICES can save us from being continually victimized. As a shy type, I had to learn to SPEAK UP whenever being victimized to STOP IT! Please get this word out, especially to all the quiet kids. DON’T REMAIN SILENT! Silence can be DEADLY!

    Posted by: gio leedy | Oct 7, 2010 1:56:28 PM

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