Photo by Wunmi Onimudo
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel
This quote truly embodies the importance of Day of Silence for me as an LGBTQ youth. It shows that we must always make our voices heard. Anti-LGBTQ harassment and bullying leaves students feeling unsafe and unable to speak up. But by participating in Day of Silence, you are not only making your voice heard, but also bringing attention to the voices that aren’t.
My freshman year of high school, I felt silenced. I was bullied and scared, and I didn’t know what to do. No one was listening to my voice, and eventually I stopped feeling like I had one at all.
Seeing people at my school participate in Day of Silence made me feel less alone. It assured me that people within my school were willing to stand up for me when I experienced anti-LGBTQ harassment. Without the Day of Silence, the members of my school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and the numerous allies within my school, I wouldn't know I had that support.
Now that I am out of that situation, I will stop at nothing to make my voice heard. I will stand up against bullying and protect those who can’t protect themselves. I was once in that situation; I was hopeless. But, here I am now. It is almost exactly a year later, and I am advocating on the national level to make a difference in the world.
If you are being bullied and harassed, please remember that you are not alone. Everyone participating in Day of Silence cares about making your school safe for you. Rise together as a school and a community. You will make it through it and have your voice heard.
Kian Tortorello-Allen is a member of GLSEN's National Student Council.
This piece appeared in the Day of Silence zine.
Are you participating in Day of Silence? Make sure to register!