Day of Silence had its humble beginnings in 1996, at the University of Virginia. With just two organizers and 150 students, the purpose was to bring awareness to the struggles that LGBT persons face on a daily basis in their lives, especially those who are young people and students in grade schools, high schools and colleges. It came about so that that awareness could bring about action on the part of the LGBT community and our allies.
The silence represents the silent lives that many LGBT persons live every single day; living secretly for fear of being physically or emotionally harassed or abused; fear of losing their jobs, housing, or close relationships with family and friends; and silence out of shame about being who we truly are.
For one day, April 16, every year across the United States, persons who observe the Day of Silence remain silent throughout their school or work day; when asked why the silence, we can use cards or other means to educate people about the self imposed silence that many within the community live with each day. Indeed, to have to stay silent about who a person truly is, means that parts of that person fade away each and every day they feel called upon to live in that way. And, is that truly living at all?
The work is not complete at the end of Day of Silence; it is the hope that by raising awareness of others, the work, advocacy and policies will change to create more equality for those of us that are members of the LGBT communities in this country.
Please, do what you can to raise your own awareness, the awareness of others, and to start to create meaningful, effective change that will support the LGBT community and the people within that community. Speak out. Write. Learn. Teach.
Be an ally.