Friday, April 27, 2018

Today Is the 'Day of Silence' to Spread Awareness of LGBTQ Bullying

In the United States, the Day of Silence is the GLSEN's annual day of action to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Students take a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQ students.

The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996. The Day of Silence is organized by the GLSEN. Students are encouraged to obtain permission from their school before organizing the event.

Created by then-student Maria Pulzetti, the first event was organized by students at University of Virginia in 1996. Pulzetti explained: "I wanted to do something for BGLAD week that would impact many people at the school and that would be very visible...I knew that if we held panel discussions and events like that, the only people who would come would be the people who already were fairly aware."

In 1997, Day of Silence went national, with almost 100 colleges and universities participating.

In 2000, Pulzetti's classmates Jessie Gilliam and Chloe Palenchar, and GLSEN National Student Organizer Chris Tuttle, developed the proposal for the day to become an official project of GLSEN. GLSEN developed its first-ever "student leadership team" as part of the Day of Silence.

In 2008, the Day of Silence was held in memory of Lawrence "Larry" King, an eighth grader from E.O. Green Middle School who was shot by classmate Brandon McInerney.

In the last several years, more than 10,000 participants have registered their participation with GLSEN each year. These participants attend middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. They include students from all 50 states in the U.S.A. as well as students from around the world, including New Zealand, Singapore, and Russia.

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