You are here

Students Lead in the Day of Silence

Media Contact:
Joanna Cifredo
Media Relations Manager
Joanna.cifredo@glsen.org
646-388-6575

Hundreds of Thousands of Students Take Action to Demand Safe and Inclusive Schools

for LGBTQ Students on today’s Day of Silence

 

Students Across the United States Call on School Officials to Break The Silencing Effects

of Anti-LGBTQ Bullying and Harassment

 

New York, NY (April 27, 2018) - Today, hundreds of thousands of students across the United States will participate in the Day of Silence hosted by GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ students.

The Day of Silence is a national youth-led movement to end the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ students in K-12 schools and demand schools are made more safe and inclusive of all. With students from more than 12,000 middle and high students already registered to organize their schools and communities -- from every state and DC -- and hundreds of thousands of students participating in more than 5,000 schools, the Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the United States.

GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found that 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ representation in their curriculum. This erasure of LGBTQ identities is an example of the silencing of the contributions, voices, and histories of LGBTQ people. The same survey found that 9 in 10 LGBTQ students experience verbal harassment and almost a third miss school for feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.

“Today, hundreds of thousands of students across the country will take action to end discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQ youth as part of GLSEN’s Day of Silence. It couldn’t come at a more important moment,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. “Our government has taken direct aim at LGBTQ youth health and safety, and are literally seeking to erase these students from education programs and civil rights enforcement efforts. The students taking action today refuse to let that happen.”

“Everywhere you look, students are taking action on all of the issues that shape their lives. People of goodwill are right there beside them. We are all in this together. Over the past year, GLSEN has experienced an amazing and sustained upswell of support for our efforts to increase student safety and wellbeing, and it is thrilling to see that expressed in all fifty states today.”

Now in its 23rd year, the Day of Silence, has become a strategic call to action for student organizers to both bring awareness and advocate for safe and inclusive schools for all students.

“Throughout history, marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community have repeatedly been silenced, their impact and stories forgotten. We believe that lifting up these voices and providing a platform for them will bring crucial change. We hope that the Day of Silence will inspire you to continue fighting for those who are silenced and do not have the privilege to speak up. Together we can use this day to break the silence, take action, and make a change,” said Sarah Bunn, 16, PA.

This year, students have one more tool to help them organize for change. Students in middle and high school can now use GLSEN’s Breaking the Silence Letter Generator to easily develop a customized letter to share with school and district administrations asking for LGBTQ-inclusive supports at their school. By simply answering a few questions about their school experiences, they can use the letter to begin a dialogue with school administrators, encouraging them to break their silence.

People can show their support for LGBTQ youth on Facebook by texting LOUD to 21333 to change their profile picture. Participants are encouraged to take pictures with GLSEN’s unselfie sign to share how they are breaking their silence to support LGBTQ students or show their support on social media using the hashtag #DayofSilence.

Additionally, local GLSEN Chapters across the country are ending the day with rallies, open mics, and other events as a way to “break the silence,” as they recommit to ending anti-LGBTQ bullying and discrimination in their local schools. A list of these events can be found here.

 

More About the Day of Silence

GLSEN's Day of Silence is a student-led national event organized in thousands of schools, bringing awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ. More than 12,000 students organize events in their schools, where participation can range from a handful to hundreds of students taking part. Thousands more don't register their participation, which is one of the most successful aspects of Day of Silence: how students can mold this event to fit their school environment and use as a catalyst for awareness, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ-inclusive schools.

The Day of Silence has reached students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as those as far away as New Zealand, Singapore, and Russia. Additionally, public figures such as Laverne Cox, Jim Parsons, and RuPaul have shown their support throughout the week on social media, and GLSEN’s media partners have donated digital billboards in Times Square, New York and across the country.

More information is available at glsen.org/dayofsilence.

 

About GLSEN

GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 39 community-led chapters in 26 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit www.glsen.org.