Students Support Other With Silence

Kalia Kornegay, Reporter

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On Friday, April 19th WHS participated in the annual Day of Silence. Day of Silence is a day every year used to bring awareness to bullying in the LGBT community, asking participants to remain silent for the day and to wear purple.

Although the website describes Day of Silence as a way to bring attention to the existence of bullying, sophomore Bella Richard had her own reasons, “My goal personally was to make the people around me realize that being openly gay or some other LGBTQ variant is still not as accepted by society as it should be.”

Richard was one of the students that took the vow of silence and spent the entire school day without speaking a word. She was “curious to see how it would feel going 24 hours without being able to stand up for myself or communicate my feelings.”

A Facebook group was created to spread the word about the day. Although 39 people committed to the event online, the actual total of participants is hard to calculate. Something certain is that each participant was able to learn a lesson from this day.

“Many people participated in the silence, and many more people took time to learn about the Day of Silence and realize how prevalent anti-LGBT bullying and harassment there is in our school. I personally, however, heard several anti-LGBT derogatory words used by WHS students on the Day of Silence, which means that our message did not reach the ears of all students, and there is still more work that needs to be done,” said senior Joshua Kelly.

Despite the success of the day, there were still opposers to what it stood for. Some students considered the matter of LGBT bullying and discrimination to no longer be as much of a concern as it was in the past, but they are wrong.

In a school climate survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 2011, it was discovered that the levels of biased language and victimization amongst LGBT students had decreased over the past decade. GLSEN however made it clear that many LGBT students still face adversity and hardships due to their sexual orientation, which means that the issue still unfortunately exists.

Kelly shared his thoughts about further action to be taken against anti-LGBT sentiments: “A sizable number of students may not have heard about the Day of Silence and the message behind it because some advisories do not broadcast the morning announcements, where the Day of Silence was explained. It’s also possible and likely that some students heard about the meaning of the Day of Silence but just didn’t care, or didn’t feel that they themselves were the problem, when in fact using derogatory anti-LGBT words is a large part of bullying.”

Although Day of Silence was able to shed light on the problem, there is still much to be done before opposition towards the LGBT community is removed from society. However, supporters of this day and all it stands for will continue to make their positive message clear by saying so much without saying anything at all.

 

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