Why I Choose Silence

Thursday, April 14, 2011 § 3

Today, rather than tomorrow, due to a all-school Pride Assembly on Friday (ironic, right?), my high-school participated in GLSEN’s annual Day of Silence. day of silence

While informing my Global Studies teacher of my decision to participate a few days ago, he remarked that, on the Day of Silence, he liked to have participating students prepare a statement to be read on their behalf. He believed that through these statements, other students would be able to better understand both the Day itself, as well as connect to their classmates.

Mine was as follows:

Today, I choose silence. Today, I am silent for myself, and for all other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning students. Today, I am silent in order to call attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, intolerance, and harassment at Glenbrook North. Today, I am silent for the 9 out of every 10 LGBT students harassed at their school in the past year, the 2/3rds that felt unsafe, and the 1/3rd who have missed school in the past month due to safety concerns. Today, through silence, I speak.

The effect that the reading of these statements had on my class was palpable. A connection was established that most definitely would’ve been avoided, had my teacher not given me this voice. He let me, and my fellow classmates, share our stories. For that, I’m very grateful.

Unfortunately, not every participating student will have a teacher as cool as mine. But still, I invite you to compose your own statement for why you choose silence. Have it read to your class. Point to it when someone gives you a blank stare after you point to your t-shirt. Share it on facebook or twitter – or simply drop it in the comments section. Happy (early) Day of Silence, everyone!

Update: My classmates’ articulate reflections on their Day of Silence can be found here, here, here and here.

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§ 3 Response to “Why I Choose Silence”

  • Great post kyle! Your statement that you read in class was very powerful and it took a lot of courage to share that with us so I wanted to say thank you. You're right that we're lucky to have a teacher like Mr. Whipple who encouraged everybody who participated to be loud even through their silence. I think we should all strive to give the lgbt community or anybody else who is being silenced a voice just like he did.

  • The simplicity of this post makes your message even stronger. This 'assignment' from Mr. Whipple was very moving. Our discussion about Day of Silence during Mr. Whipple's class was very interesting because the people who would usually have the most to say about lgbt rights and bullying were silent and other students were forced to speak up and share their thoughts. Day of Silence has the power to give voices not only to members of the lgbt community who feel silenced but also to people who generally don't talk about lgbt issues.

  • Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with both Alli's and Lauren's comments-- well said! And Kyle, this was a fantastic post and a powerful statement. I agree that we are lucky to have a teacher who supported the day so strongly, and your ideas about sharing a statement on Facebook or pointing to one when questioned about a Day of Silence T-shirt were great as well. It's a travesty of justice that the LGBT community has been so mistreated and continues to be mistreated, and it's the world's responsibility to correct it. If we are silent, we should be using our silence speak.

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