Day Of Silence is observed every year on the second Friday of April. This observance is led especially by the student community to bring awareness to the bullying of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender students.
On this particular day, they vow to be silent for the whole day as a symbolic representation of the silencing of the LGBTQ+ community. The day is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
History of the Day of Silence
The idea for this day originated in 1996 by student Maria Pulzetti of the University of Virginia. Maria wanted to do something that will leave a lasting impact on her colleagues.
She wanted to erase the stigma around the LGBTQ+ community and raise visibility among students and faculty. Her intention was to allow students to participate in an activity that was inclusive for all.
Many schools and universities across the country started actively participating by the end of 1997. In 2000 GLSEN joined the efforts and made the day an official event of the organization.
The event continued to expand and now the Day of Silence is observed in all fifty states globally.
What Happens On The Day of Silence
Most students that take part spend the whole day in silence, only using written ways of communication.
Some students will organize lectures and seminars to educate people and bring awareness to the issues of harassment that many LGBTQ + students face.
Teachers and school leaders are encouraged to give students the space and opportunity to be able to learn and take part in the school day as normal.
Breaking the silence
A rally is organized to formally end the silence. Some students take part in this in person, making as much noise as possible; other students meet in online rallies where they speak and share their experiences virtually.