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Students participate in Day of Silence

The+Counseling+Office+displays+a+poster+highlighting+the+discrimination+LGBTQ+people+often+undergo.
The Counseling Office displays a poster highlighting the discrimination LGBTQ people often undergo.

The Counseling Office displays a poster highlighting the discrimination LGBTQ people often undergo.

Anna Kreynin

Anna Kreynin

The Counseling Office displays a poster highlighting the discrimination LGBTQ people often undergo.

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In 1996, 150 University of Virginia students participated in the first Day of Silence. Today, more than 10,000 students from all 50 states, New Zealand, Singapore and Russia participate in the Day of Silence each year, which, according to Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, is “a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.” This year, the event took place on April 15, and several Homestead students participated by refusing to speak for that day.

Lonnae Hickman, junior, has participated officially for three years, and individually once. Hickman believes LGBTQ individuals should possess the freedom to remain true to themselves without discrimination. “I believe it’s important that everyone is equal and no one should have to be untrue to their true selves,” she said. Hickman also said participation is a true commitment, as “It’s really hard to not be able to talk; you find that simply communicating with others is hard, especially when you need something.”

According to GLSEN, nearly 90 percent of LGBT students experience verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school. Thus, “the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in U.S. schools,” GLSEN said.  

“Day of Silence, in my experience, is a reminder of the people that can’t speak their mind, and has the outpouring of support from HHS, “Jackson Buraczewski, junior and Gay Straight Alliance president, said. Buraczewski said that no matter what excuses one may have to not participate, there are always ways to show support. “I know it’s hard to be silent for a day. Trust me, I know. Anyone who knows me knows I like to talk,” Buraczewski said. “But when people immediately write it off as too hard, it shows their commitment, or lack thereof. I’ve heard every excuse. Have a presentation? Be silent for the rest of the day. Too talkative? Take it as an exercise in discipline. Worried you’ll be profiled as gay? It’s a Gay-Straight Alliance; the whole point is that both LGBTQIA+ people and allies can join. Show your support, you’ll learn a lot about yourself as well as your community.”

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The student news site of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.
Students participate in Day of Silence