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Author Topic: Day of Silence
Only In Dreams
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OK, I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, so feel free to move it if you don't feel it fits.

Anyway, today I was walking out of one of my classes, and I picked up a little piece of paper. Someone walking by said, "Oh, [one of my gay friends] is giving those out." I found him at lunch and asked him if I could have one to show you guys. This is what it says:

"April 10, 2002 - Day of Silence"

"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence felt by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harrassment, predjudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step towards fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."

Have any of you heard about this? What do you all think?

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tasha
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We acknowledge this day on my campus, too. People hand out little flyers (I have mine taped on the wall over my bed), that say pretty much what you wrote.

I don't know how many people actually follow the "silence all day" idea, but I think it's more that they're just trying to get the word out and make people more aware of the discrimination, violence, need to be secretive, or other hardships gays often face today. I thought it was a really great way to remind people of things that are sometimes so easy to forget about or ignore.

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sapphirecat
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I posted a remark about it in my village people thread a while back.

The UB LGBTA had shirts made in addition to the cards. I don't think anyone paid attention to the shirts, but it sure was fun to pass out the cards and watch people's expression when they read it.

We did a "business day of silence"--9 AM to 5PM. The worst part of it was having to be silent while people speculated on how much/what kind of makeup I was wearing.

http://www.dayofsilence.org is the project website.

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Sapphire Cat
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DrQuack5
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Yeah, I participated in that at my school. There were a fair amount of people doing it, but not enough to create noticable silences.

Although, I must admit, I broke my silence when I dropped my CD player. Whoops. I don't think the administrators were too happy with me yelling that word quite so loud...


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Gaffer
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I participated too. 8 hours is a long time to go without talking.
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DrQuack5
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Did you use other forms of communication? We did. Writing in notebooks/on paper, I had little cards with stuff on them to hold up to people, but that all seemed to defeat the purpose.
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Puffy
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Our school didn't allow us to participate, though I wanted to. My vice principal told me she didn't think it was a good idea. I think it's quite interesting and a good way to get ones point across.
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DrQuack5
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Oh, yeah, it definitley is, Puffy. But the main thing is that you need enough people for there to be noticable silences created. I think at my school we had 75, maybe 100 people participating (in a school of 1600+) it wasn't that big of a deal. Although we all agreed that it was a very good way to get the point across, you just need enough people to do it.
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zarathustrav
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I was one of the people who orginized it at my school this year (which is sad, considering it was badly orginized). Although a very small amount people participated, everyone knew about it. This was actually rather unfortunate, because the silence seemed to make people who had "strong opinions" more at ease to voice them. I don't mind philosophies, even if they are against me. I do mind extreme bigotry and emotional warfare because of those philosophies. A few people were reported to the deans for such behavior, and will undergo some counseling, etc...

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De Omnibus Dubitandem
-Descartes


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goblin_girl01
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That is sooooo cool... I want to do it @ my school, now! ^_^ :-)

Thanks for putting up a thread about it! All of a sudden I'm looking forward to school tomorrow.. that's almost surreal.

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BlackRoseFaery
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I wanted to organize a Day of Silence at my school, but my school is very conservative and redneck-ish. I was afriad the backlash from it would defeat the purpose of it. Maybe I can get one organized next year.
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ice_magick
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I am planning to do that soon, but I am 99% sure I'll be the ONLY 1
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ice_magick
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Did it. Yesterday. Everyone thought I was crazed, and my teachers were, like, "Ohhhhhh-kaaayyy..." My writing teacher thought it was really cool, but my lit teacher and US History teacher looked at me like I was nuts. My so-called best friend used it as a vehicle for making fun of me, however, and someone in my computer sci class (think 33 gum-cracking, ghetto, hostile, virulently Christian homophobic wolves with computers) stole the note I'd been giving to teachers and passed it around. I got cussed out a few times and now everyone says 'dyke!' when I walk by. So, uhmmm...guess I'm out now!!

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"Never doubt that a small
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only thing that ever
has."
-Margaret


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Hillary
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I did the day of Silence. All of my friends did it, too. ANd were only in 8th grade
A lot of the girls at my school did it (all girl school, a lot of lesbians and bisexuals). I only broke my silence for important things. I did it only during school, though.

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-Jill
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The annual Day of Silence is tomorrow. Is anyone participating?

Another thread on the subject may be found here.

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Stephanie101
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We did that today at my school! I participated!! [Big Grin] I am so going to do it next year, and I think that some people in my school who were TRYING to get us to talk just didn't understand the message. That was annoying, but as for everything else I was suprised at the results. There were around 28 pple from my school participating [Big Grin]

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stephh!

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JamsessionVT
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I have to say, since the Day of Silence was also a big deal at my highschool, that I had a big problem with it.

I have no problem with the gay community. I have many good friends who are gay or bisexual or undecided. Perhaps it was the way in which is was done at my highschool, but it made a lot of the students, including myself, very bitter about the whole ordeal.

The whole thing was thrown in our faces. Every turn you made there were posters that said things like "The average student hears 25 gay slurs per day" or "28% of GLBTQ drop out of highschool because of bullying and harrassment". Maybe it was just my highschool, but I heard words that were demeaning to women FAR more often than I heard words demeaning towards gays. The words b*tch and whore and pussy were thrown around like "the" and "I". Same thing with the word "rape", as in "Man, that test raped me." I can't put into words how disgusted I became after 5 minutes in the halls.

Perhaps I am biased because I was bitter to begin with: my alma mater was notorious for the typical highschool guys who treated girls like crap. We had 8 girls drop out of school (this is just from my graduating class) because they got pregnant. Catcalls and harrassment was pretty common, so much so that the administrators didn't even want to deal with it anymore.

The Day of Silence irritated me for two reasons: it made me want to ask "What makes the gay community so special that they get their own day?" Why don't we have a Day of Silence for sexual abuse victims and people again animal abuse? Why don't we have a Day of Silence for heterosexual people who are harrassed or teased, for whatever reason? Vermont is a pretty key state when you consider the progression of gay rights, and this is perhaps another reason why I tend to shy away from the topic. Like I said before, I don't have a problem in the least with the gay community. But when a group is singled out like this when there are so many others who share the same problem, what makes that group so different?

Just something from a different perspective.

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Abbie
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Heather
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Can I suggest that it might be because that particular group was the one who got organized to have that day?

In other words, did you ever suggest and organize having a day about sexism and have it denied? Bring up, formally, that you saw this as an opportunity to find ways to have other events like this for other kinds of discrimination and violence? Ask if those other -isms were really being seen and addressed, and if after doing all of that, you still got shut down, write to a larger organization to ask for help?

Honestly, while certainly a lot of the bigger -isms can be tougher for some schools to address, so there is always that, a lot of the time these events happen just because a handful of folks put in some legwork and asked for help from larger organizations to get the ball rolling.

I also want to add, that often, we hear more of what applies to us. I'd have to say that in the time I spent in public high school as someone both female and queer, I'd have had a hard time telling you which I got treated more badly for. I heard sexist slurs, I heard homophobic slurs: in fact, "dyke c@*t," was a highly efficient use of both kinds of discrimination for me which many classmates used often. I got treated like crud in both departments.

Now, it may well have been because I was in both groups that I picked up on that, and chances are good that being white, I likely picked up more on those two areas of discrimination than I did on racism there.

I also just have to say...
quote:
Why don't we have a Day of Silence for heterosexual people who are harrassed or teased, for whatever reason?
This really troubles me, especially in this forum.

When those of us who are gay, lesbian and bisexual are harassed, it's not "for whatever reason." It's because of marginalization and discrimination expressly BECAUSE of not being heterosexual, in a culture where heterosexuals have greater privilege and are doling out the discrimination. GLB youth and people have not been beaten, murdered, raped, kicked out of school, kicked out of our homes, disallowed civil rights "for whatever reason." That has all happened for one reason, that being because we are not heterosexual. So, while a central issue -- the fact that heterosexuals are the ruling class -- would still be missing, it'd even be one thing if you had a day for heterosexuals who have had any of those sorts of things happen to them, as a group, SOLELY because they were heterosexual, and not gay, bisexual and lesbian. But since that can't happen in a heterosexist and hetero-dominated culture, it'd be a pretty odd thing to suggest.

Asking that question kind of sounds to me like folks asking -- and they really do -- about Black History Month "Well, why don't we have a WHITE history month?" The obvious answer being, of course, that we do... every freaking month of every year. That's the point of Black History Month.

There isn't a day of Silence for Heterosexuals because heterosexuals, when it comes to the hierarchy of orientation in our culture which heterosexuals hold up, are the ones with the class power to silence all other orientations, and with the practical and actualized power -- in numbers, in nearly any structure you can think of in the world, from governments to health care to education to housing to just getting gas at a gas station -- to oppress all others.

[ 04-28-2008, 12:06 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Bun Bun
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A couple of friends of mine participated at my high school. My little brother also did so at his junior high! Unfortunately, I didn't participate this year because of conflicts with my courses (participation, oral presentations, etc). Maybe next year!

As well, I just want to say how much I admire everyone who participated. Good job, everyone!

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eryn_smiles
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Hi everyone,
I had never heard of the "Day of silence" until i read this thread. But it sounds like a pretty justified awareness day to me.

Regarding Abbie's post:
We do have awareness days about sexual assault and animal abuse. Rape awareness gets a month. I think that GLBT issues really deserve a place in our society.

Its true that gay people aren't the only ones who are discriminated against. But surely the solution to this is not to keep oppressing them to keep them at the same level as disadvantaged heterosexuals. I think that fighting prejudice and discrimination against one group actually paves the way to fight discrimination against other groups.

"The whole thing was thrown in our faces". I think maybe that could have been the point. Just like gay slurs are thrown into peoples' faces on every other day of the year.

I agree with Heather that "we hear more of what applies to us". I've heard so much sexism at work (refer to previous rant in sexual ethics and politics). I cringe at homophobic slurs. I hear the racism about incompetent Indians/ asians/ immigrants/ foreigners and I fume when people tell me my English is "so good" (its only my first language!). And now that im working in mental health, i've become sensitive to the array of names our clients get called (basket-case, fruit-cake, "should be locked up with the key thrown away").

Im not one for organising big projects, but i try to challenge discrimination in people, one person at a time (hopefully starting with myself!)

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JamsessionVT
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I was a member of the student government when I was in high school, and I mentioned it on numerous occassions that there should be actions similiar to the Day of Silence for womens rights, animal rights, general bullying (of homosexual or heterosexual people, which is what I was getting at with the "for whatever reason" remark), etc. But repeatedly I was told that "there just wasn't a large enough interest group to get it going". So much for the support base there.

Perhaps it was my highschool experience in particular. I really can't say for sure. I do agree that we hear more of what applies to us; in my defense, I heard both, partially because of the friend groups I had, but not to equal extents.

As for it being thrown in our faces, I think there is a time and place for it. The way this was done, however, was bordering on rude. There were cards, but their statements were far from what was mentioned above. Half the students didn't wear cards at all, they just refused to speak or even write down their reasoning. Or they ignored the person talking to them. And the t-shirts that were made, if I recall correctly, has the 28% statistic on the front, and underneath had "Chances are you are part of the problem." Had some of these things been changed, perhaps I'd feel better, but it was a very off-putting experience in general.

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Abbie
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freakoutxx
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Oh wow this does sound like a great idea.. I'd really like to do it for my school. but the problem is, this is not a very open topic.. well not an open topic at all here.. where i live. In Jordan, i think i'd get it all kinds of trouble and my parents well my dad would probably kill me. And all my friends parents would somehow try to sue us for "dirtying" their childrens minds. whatever. i hate how close minded people are here..

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