Ways to Participate in Day of Silence
This year we are honoring the 25th anniversary of Day of Silence – a national student led protest of the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people. And this year we are going virtual!
With school closures across the country for an unforeseeable future at this time, we at GLSEN want to ensure that we are meeting the virtual needs of students, educators, and school community members who are committed to advocacy for LGBTQ people. As we stay diligent and mindful in keeping safe through spatial distancing, we can continue to build social connections with each other online and share powerful messages.
This guide is for anyone who wishes to participate in the largest LGBTQ student led day of action. Below, find ideas you can use with your virtual GSA and online community to continue to raise awareness and take action in support of LGBTQ people. We are in this together and can’t wait to paint our way across social media platforms with you on Day of Silence.
As you plan Day of Silence, don’t forget to end this silent protest by participating in Breaking the Silence virtual rallies, which take place at the end of the day, after folks have participated in Day of Silence. Be sure to check out the Virtual Breaking the Silence Guide, and join @GLSEN national on Instagram starting at 3:00PM EST.
Use this list below to find ways that GSAs, students, and educators can participate in breaking the silence!
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN DAY OF SILENCE (STUDENTS/GSAS)
1. Register for the Day of Silence and encourage other students to register.
2. Read up on your rights as a student and GSA to participate in DOS.
- Read through GLSEN’s Know Your Rights Guide and Know Your Rights Guide for Trans Students
- You can design a guide for your school using your own school’s policies.
3. Beforehand, check out the How to Organize guide, so you can learn how to increase your school’s participation!
4. Share the Day of Silence Educator Guide with the teachers, school counselors, and other educators in your school. Encourage them to teach silently and accept silent participation on the Day of Silence.
5. Read the Day of Silence Zine to learn more about this day of action from students like you!
- Hand out Zines to other students at your school.
- Replicate a Zine of your own to distribute before, during, and after Day of Silence.
- Connect with the closest GLSEN Chapter to you and share your Zine! They can share it on their social and if you tag @GLSEN and use the hashtag #DayofSilence and #BreakingTheSilence, you could be featured on GLSEN national’s social media outlets!
6. Get permission to set up a Day of Silence table in your school hallway and giveaway stickers and buttons, hang posters, take photos with the selfie sign, and pass out info cards.
- Speak to your school administrators and ask permission to set up a Day of Silence info table.
- Print out Day of Silence stickers from glsen.org/dayofsilence and give them out. Or make your own!
- Print out Day of Silence info cards from glsen.org/dayofsilence and give them out. Or handwrite and decorate your own using the same wording used on glsen.org/dayofsilence
- Set up a selfie sign booth where people can fill out printouts to post on social media using #DayOfSilence.
7. Join GLSEN for 3 minutes of community silence and solidarity at 3 pm ET.
- Stay silent in solidarity with GLSEN’s community silence at 3 pm ET/2pm CT/1pm PT/11am HT, (make sure to check your time zone!). If you have a GSA you can gather together with your GSA for these 3 minutes.
8. On the Day of Silence, lead a silent lunch, rock your Day of Silence gear, and document the day with a video or photo series.
- Organize a lunch table where everyone is silent together at the table.
- Encourage everyone to wear or make Day of Silence gear.
- Download the selfie sign or make your own Breaking the Silence selfie sign.
- Coordinate a day for a mini-video shoot and ask your peers what Day of Silence means to them and how they have chosen to break the silence. Get permission from your peers to post their videos online. Use #DayOfSilence and tweet @GLSEN to be a part of thousands of students who are raising LGBTQ-awareness this April.
9. Hold a silent reflection-carousel where students or GSA members answer questions about LGBTQ issues such as:
- What parts of your identity feel supported at school? What is being done to support this?
- Thinking about the 4 Supports for LGBTQ Inclusive Schools (inclusive curriculum, supportive educators, GSAs and other LGBTQ clubs, and comprehensive policies), what is your school doing well? What can you work towards changing?
- What LGBTQ topics or people are missing from your curriculum that you would like to learn about? Why?
- What school rules or policies would help you feel more supported at school?
- If you could design your own supportive class or school, what would it look like?
10. Organize a Breaking the Silence party, assembly, panel, rally or open mic in your school to end the Day of Silence.
- Secure a semi-private space and create a makeshift stage, with or without sound equipment, where people can share performances about their identities, their Day of Silence experiences, the changes they want to see in their schools, or other topics for attendees. Schedule a few people who will appear, like student musicians, poets, dancers or other performers, and bring a sign-up sheet for attendees to perform on the spot.
- Invite speakers, from within your GSA, in the local community and encourage them to speak as you all Break the Silence together! If you don’t have speakers you can play videos!
11. Social Media Campaign: Change your profile(s)/photo frame to a Day of Silence graphic from now until your 3:00PM your time on April 24th. Day of Silence is a silent protest of the erasure and bullying of LGBTQ+ people on school campuses around the country. By changing your profile, you are raising awareness of LGBTQ erasure and harassment! Imagine if LGBTQ people in schools were invisible, it is a powerful statement that can get folks asking questions and join in solidarity to protect, promote, and empower LGBTQ students in schools. Let’s paint a message across our online platforms and show them our Silence is Loud!
12. Post a Video of you being silent. You can write your own post about Day of Silence and Why or Who you are being silent for?! You can also use this template: "Today is the 25th anniversary of Day of Silence--a national student led movement highlighting the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people. 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ representation in their curriculum, 8 in 10 experience anti-LGBTQ verbal harassment, and over a third miss school for feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. I am silent for ______. Until 3:00PM #DayofSilence (add image description if possible)"
13. #DayofSilence Challenge: Post a video or photo and challenge your friends, family, and community to participate. You can write your own challenge post or use this template: "Today is the 25th anniversary of Day of Silence--a national student led movement highlighting the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people. 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ represenation in their curriculum, 8 in 10 experience anti-LGBTQ verbal harrassment, and over a third miss school for feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. I am silent for ______. I challenge: to join me in The Day of Silence until 3:00PM #DayofSilence (add image description if possible)"
14. Join Our GSA Call: Get Day of Silence tips from members of the National Student Council!
- Tuesday, April 7th at 3:00 EST for student leaders
- Wednesday, April 8th at 3:00 EST for GSA Advisors
15. Visual Representation: There are so many LGBTQ artists in K-12 schools and we would love for you to show your skills off! Share your art on your social page, explain the connection to Day of Silence, tag @GLSEN and hashtag #DayofSilence for a chance to be featured on our page!
- Cooking – Food can be a healing and transformative way to engage in activism too! Share food that connects to your identity, decorate food, and share creative ways to connect food to Breaking the Silence!
- Make-Up – Y’all are incredible with your make-up skills and we would LOVE to feature Day of Silence related make-up designs. Get creative and show them off!
- Drawing, painting, graphic design etc. – This has been the traditional outlet for Day of Silence and Breaking the Silence artist expression and we are here for it! This is an activity you can do together with your virtual GSA! Set up a zoom or google hangout video chat and work on your art projects together as a club online.
- Music – You can sing, play an instrument, create musical sounds etc! Share how this artistic outlet is related to Day of Silence for you.
- Poetry (including spoken word), writing excerpt, quote – Words have power, share and tell your story through creative and expressive writing.
- Dance and Movement Art – body movement in all of its forms is an empowering expressive outlet. This is an opportunity to connect what it means to feel erased or bullied through body movement.
16. Invite folks in all your groups to join in on the Day of Silence social media take over and share the Day of Silence digital graphics. Use the hashtag #DayofSilence and share links to the website www.glsen.org/day-of-silence
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN DAY OF SILENCE (EDUCATORS)
1. Use the Educator Guide for the Day of Silence to find lesson and activity ideas before, during, and after the Day of Silence.
2. Pause your teaching to join GLSEN for the community silence and solidarity for 3 minutes at 3 pm ET/2 pm CT/1pm PT/11am HT.
3. Structure your lessons with silent writing: Have students send a letter to administrators, supervisors or other school leaders to support LGBTQ students. Go to glsen.org/dayofsilence to fill out GLSEN’s short questionnaire and receive customized letters to share with your school administration, asking for GLSEN’s supports for LGBTQ-inclusive schools.
4. Set up a Day of Silence table in your school lobby or hallway and invite students to give away Day of Silence stickers and buttons, hang posters, take photos with selfie signs, and share info cards.
5. Breaking the Silence is an important action on the Day of Silence. Prepare with your students beforehand how they want to take action and advocate for LGBTQ people at their school. Work with students to organize a Breaking the Silence Assembly, rally, or open mic.
6. Encourage your students to download the selfie sign and answer how you’re breaking the silence.
7. If your school has a GSA, meet with them and their GSA advisor to see how you can support their Breaking the Silence event.
8. Preview and then host a screening of one of the films from the Youth and Gender Media Project, which is offering FREE Streaming to Day of Silence registrants.
9. Sign up for GLSEN’s Educator Network and encourage other educators in your school to sign up as well to stay connected to the newest GLSEN resources and campaigns.