April 11, 2011

>GLSEN Student Ambassador Red O. shares their story of coming out and the importance of the Day of Silence.


---------


With fear, pride, and a shaky voice I was forced to pull my self out of my comfortable yet crammed up closet. The closet I had been a refugee in for as long as I could remember. Their reaction was less violent and dramatic than I had expected. No glass was shattered, but something inside me broke by their reaction. "Stay quiet about this!" my mother demanded. "Don't you dare tell anyone else about you being like THAT." Like that? She could not even repeat what I had just told her. A simple three letter word that I usually said happily and proud had been turned into a sick, unmentionable word. Her words were painful, but the look she gave me could kill. "You are confused; You will change your mind when you find the right guy!" she continued as tears rolled down my cheek. I tried to speak but the words just choked me. Tears were all I could release. I stood there frozen as the woman, that held me in her arms when I was younger and put band-aids on my boo-boos, spit hate at me. That night, as I sat in my room both relieved and sad, I heard her say that I was not the child she expected I would be and that she was very disappointed.

Silence! That is what she wanted from me; her loud kid that gets in trouble for being overly hyper and talkative. But you know what? No one can make me feel bad for being myself! I am proud and no one will take that away! You may be able to repress me and keep my mouth shut for a while, but not forever! Soon I will be free to skip in the daisy fields and scream, "I am GAY and proud!" I will fly without a muzzle away from here!

I am lucky though. While I have only been temporarily silenced, others silence is more permanent. Everyday LGBT teens are silenced by their peers, parents, and other authorities. Some are silenced for moments, some for years, others for life. Some are bullied into silence, others are murdered into it. This Day of Silence, I will show support to those who have been muzzled in fear by giving up my voice for a day. It is important that we all stand together to make the echo of silence roar through our communities. Let kids know that they are not alone and that some people really do care.


---------

Stay tuned for more Day of Silence stories. If you would like to share your story, email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

April 11, 2011

>The Day of Silence, Friday, April 15, is fast approaching and it's time to get organizing! Each week we'll post tips to help you plan your Day of Silence activities.

Goals for April 11-15

Day of Silence is almost here! It’s time to pump up the excitement and to make sure everyone is prepared!

  • Spread the word: You've worked for weeks to get the word out about the Day of Silence, so keep it going! Make sure students, teachers and administrators in your school know that the Day of Silence is happening and what to expect from participants. Notifying people early is the key to a successful and effective Day of Silence!
  • Be visible: Red is the official DOS color, so if everyone participating wears red you'll be sure to stand out. And don’t forget t-shirts, buttons, stickers, face-paint—these are all ways you can help draw attention to your action.
  • Be respectful: The Day of Silence is about ending anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in school. To do this, it's important to treat people with respect. There are likely people at your school who will try to challenge your silence, your activities or your beliefs. Treat these people not as they treat you but with the same respect you hope to be treated with. Remember, the Day of Silence is a peaceful demonstration!
  • Know your rights: Remember, you DO have the right to remain silent between classes and before/after school. You do NOT have the right to ignore your teachers' requests during instructional time. If a teacher asks for you to speak during class, do it! Please don’t put your education at risk. Review this document, which outlines some of your rights during the Day of Silence. (Lambda Legal PDF Download)


If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Page on Facebook and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

April 07, 2011

>ACLU’s Don’t Filter Me Project

Did you know that it’s illegal for public schools to use their web filtering software to deny students access to positive, affirming information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues while allowing access to anti-LGBT websites? The American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project, along with the Yale Law School LGBT Litigation Clinic, is asking public high school students throughout the U.S. to check out your high school’s web filters to make sure you’re not being blocked from information you have a right to have!

CLICK HERE to learn how to check and report on your school’s filtering.

For more info, check out this great video:

April 06, 2011

>Can a teacher tell me to speak during class? What are my rights when I participate in the Day of Silence?

According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause…”

However, this right to free speech does not extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.

Know your rights! Read The Freedom to Speak (Or Not) by Lambda Legal to learn about your legal rights to participate in the Day of Silence.

Report It! Are you experiencing resistance to your Day of Silence organizing or activities from your school administrators or faculty? If you are a student in a U.S. K-12 school and feel like your rights are not being respected, please click here to let us know!

April 05, 2011

>Day of Silence Reporter and GLSEN Student Ambassador Nowmee S. shares this video about why the Day of Silence is an important action to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in K-12 schools. Check it out!


---------

---------


Stay tuned for more Day of Silence content from Nowmee and other student reporters! If you would like to submit your story, email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

April 04, 2011

>The Day of Silence, Friday, April 15, is fast approaching and it's time to get organizing! Each week we'll post tips to help you plan your Day of Silence activities.

Goals for April 4-8

The more support you have, the more effective your event can be. Continue talking with teachers, students and community members about ways they can support your Day of Silence activities.

  • Notify Faculty: You’ve already connected with supportive teachers; now it’s time to let all staff know. Give each staff member a letter explaining what to expect on the Day of Silence. Include the contact people for the event, including the supportive staff member on your Team. Remember to be open and available to questions and concerns about the day.
  • Participant Meeting: This meeting is for everyone who intends on participating in the Day of Silence. Talk with the group about their expectations, goals, fears and hopes for the event. Staying silent for the Day isn’t easy, so it’s good to allow students to practice how to respond to questions or resistance from students and faculty. Try using the Concentric Circles Activity in Jump-Start Guide #1.
  • Back to the Press: Send your Press Release to local news media again now that Day of Silence is around the corner.
  • Make new posters: If you put up a new set of fliers and posters around the school it will cause people to take notice a second time.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 31, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


-------
Elizabeth Duthinh (b. 1990), a junior at Brown University, has been a student leader and LGBT advocate for almost seven years. As a high school freshman, Elizabeth was shocked to see the anti-LGBT bias at her school and became involved with the school’s gay-straight alliance. She was home schooled during her sophomore year and became more involved in community groups, including her local PFLAG chapter. In 2006 Elizabeth applied for and was accepted to GLSEN’s National Student Leadership Team and attended several GLSEN student leader summits to learn the skills necessary to start a community LGBT youth group. She used her newly found leadership skills to reinvigorate the GSA at the private high school she attended her junior and senior years. As one of the co-presidents of the GSA, she developed an LGBT inclusive health workshop for the school, which is still part of the school’s required curriculum today. Elizabeth also arranged for her GSA to attend a lobby day sponsored by Equality Maryland, where GSA members advocated for an LGBT-inclusive safe schools policy. The law was passed a year later and many state legislators credit Elizabeth and her GSA as having played a major role in its passage. Elizabeth is now a part of GLSEN’s national advisory board and continues to mentor student leaders from her hometown on implementing the new safe schools legislation. She is also involved in the LGBT community at Brown University, where she majors in Public Policy, and has been a driving force for transgender inclusion at the school.
-------

We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

March 30, 2011

>We don’t have school on the Day of Silence. Does that mean I can’t participate?

Your school district may not have classes on the National Day of Silence, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate. We encourage everyone to organize their Day of Silence events on a day that works best for their school and community. Schedule your DOS activities on another day or week. You can also collaborate with other schools, GSAs and students in your area to hold your DOS on the same day so you can generate local interest.

For more organizing tips download the Day of Silence Organizing Manual.

March 29, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


-------
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was a Puerto Rican American transgender activist. Most commonly known as one of the inciters of the monumental Stonewall Riots in New York City, she was also a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and later the Gay Activists Alliance also in New York City. Along with her friend, Marsha Johnson, an African American trans woman activist, she also helped found STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless trans youth. In addition to being o ne of the first trans youth shelters STAR was also one of the first political organizations for transgender rights in the world. Today the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is named in her honor. SRLP is a non-profit organization that engages in policy work and provides trainings and free legal services for transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming low-income people of color.
-------

We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

March 28, 2011

> A message from GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard (left, in photo) on the eve of lobby day at our Safe Schools Advocacy Summit in DC. For more on #SSAS, follow @glsen on Twitter. For more insight and commentary on the Safe Schools Movement, follow Eliza on Twitter @EByard.

I've just spent the day in DC with GLSEN staff, country music singer and author Chely Wright and a terrific delegation that will have more than *90* meetings on the Hill tomorrow to tell their stories and garner support for critical legislative progress in the form of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.

As has become an annual tradition, Mara Keisling, founding Exective Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (hugging Eliza in photo), addressed the group at dinner, bringing humorous perspective to the work ahead. (For those who have never heard Mara speak, ask someone to tell you the "chifferobe story." Classic legislative lobbying humor.) By the end of a long day of training, the delegation is well-prepared and generally needs a little laughter to help them remember that their most important task - to speak honestly from their own experience - is well within their grasp.

Our work is to bring individuals with stories to tell into contact with the people who need to hear them, and to prepare those folks to make the most of the moment. And with a delegation trained and a record number of meetings secured - most with key committee members - I'm very proud of the work that the team has done and of the remarkable people who have chosen to work with us this year.

Pages

Find Your Chapter