Day of Silence

by Helen G // 24 April 2008, 13:07

Tomorrow (Friday, 25th April) marks this year’s Day of Silence in America.

The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996 and its purpose is to highlight the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students, and their supporters.

The organisers GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) say that this year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15 year old California student who was shot and killed in February by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. (See also this post elsewhere at TFW).

The dedication to Lawrence King is made even more poignant in the light of the news earlier this week (see Pam’s House Blend and The Bilerico Project) that the alleged murderer’s attorney is pushing the trans-panic defence - most notably (but not only) used in the trials following the murders of Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo and Sanesha Stewart, to name but three...

But it should be noted that there are dissenting voices to the Day of Silence, perhaps most notably the Liberty Counsel (curtsey to Pam’s House Blend for the link). Many of the groups who oppose the Day of Silence have formed a loose coalition to protest against the protesters, see this page of the World Net Daily site for the full list.

It’s interesting to note that, according to the Liberty Counsel’s letter, being silent in class may be deemed likely to cause "a substantial disruption or material interference with school activities" and is therefore "not permitted and is not protected under the First Amendment". Well, okay, so speech isn’t silence - but prohibiting silence seems a curious way to protect the freedom of speech. As ever, when people start talking about freedom, it’s never entirely clear whether they mean ‘freedom from’ or ‘freedom to’.

I found this video on the Day of Silence website, I think it’s worth a look:

And there are several other videos to be seen at YouTube but, for me, this one is perhaps the most powerful:

None of us are safe until all of us are safe...

Later edit: Those of a ‘pro-violence-to-LGBT-students’ disposition might wish to look at the Day of Truth website, which "was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective".
Conversely, those of an ‘anti-violence-to-LGBT-students’ disposition might also wish to look at the Day of Truth website to remind themselves of the violently reactionary kneejerk hate speech to which far too many LGBTQ people are subject...

Comments From You

Redheadinred // Posted 25 April 2008 at 00:39

Jesus, I just viewed the 'day of truth' site. What a load of old shit. At first I didn't really read the stuff and just clicked to play the video, thinking it was a 'support LGBT rights' one. And the boy with the tape over his mouth symbolises the oppression of not being able to express himself. Pretty classic, I thought. Then I noticed the language being used. 'Homosexual behaviour' and 'homosexual agenda' and I realised the site was anti-gay. Why, oh why do people think they have the right to interfere with someone else's choices? And why do they think there is some big, scary 'homo agenda'? It's their own damn insecurity that makes them jealous of someone else's self-expression. People who are insecure are always envious of people who express themselves. They need a damn hobby, these people.

This is what pro-choice is, for me. It's not just about reproduction, it's about choice in EVERY aspect of life.

'None of us are safe till all of us are safe' - love this quote.

Helen G // Posted 25 April 2008 at 06:50

Reheadinred: I'm not sure about the word 'choice' in this context... In particular, the idea that transsexuality is a choice does not sit comfortably with me. I didn't *choose* to be a trans woman...
And sexual orientation? - Is that a really a matter of choice?
I don't intend to cause offence or start a fight, I just find it hard to fit the word 'choice' into this.

whitelabcoat // Posted 25 April 2008 at 08:19

I think it's a generalisation - and an understandable one - to put forward the 'being gay is not a choice' argument, since, for me, my lesbianism does feel like a choice. I have a preference - based on a number of factors - and I act on it. In reference to Redheadinred's comment, it could also be that she's talking about the choice to 'express oneself' - that is, not every gay person 'chooses' to come out or even accept their own orientation (or, as I mentioned, in my own case, preference).

Seph // Posted 25 April 2008 at 16:59

I just read the article about 'trans-panic' defense, I never thought even the American legal system could be that stupid, urgh x_x

Using that line of reasoning, I could go out and murder someone who wears a different size shoe, and argue that I 'panicked' because their shoes were different to mine.

queerunity // Posted 26 April 2008 at 02:19

it is a choice to express your true identity or act out sexually but sexual orientation and gender identity are themselves not a choice

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

whitelabcoat // Posted 28 April 2008 at 14:46

"It is a choice to express your true identity or act out sexually but sexual orientation and gender identity are themselves not a choice."

Don't really feel like I'm 'acting out' or expressing something other than my 'true identity', although I accept that the wording there might not be deliberately contentious. I guess what I was suggesting is that gayness can be an intellectual (for want of a better word) decision as well as biological/innate.

Anyway ... please don't think that I, in any way, am defending the anti-gay 'it's a choice so you can fix it' faction. I was just commenting on my own experience - no one else's.

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