Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'll Cover You

Recommended listening: I'll Cover You from Rent

Today my high school participated in The Day of Silence. Sponsored by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Through their activities students can speak out against harassment and organize for change for their schools and communities. 

My Day of Silence
Today, I had the privilege of taking part in The Day of Silence for the 5th or 6th time. When the bell rang I found myself donning a purple shirt that begged the question, "What will YOU do to end the silence?" However initially, there was nothing anyone could do because my entire carpool was supporting The Day of Silence.
As I went throughout my school day, I was faced with a new reality. Although I am not a novice by any means when it comes to The Day of Silence, for some reason this year I found it truly resonated with me. I think my Social Studies teacher set a good, meaningful preface for the event by asking all students who planned to participate to prepare a statement to be read aloud (by someone else, of course) on the DoS. The few statements read aloud in class today by my peers were far more touching than I can convey in a blogpost, or to anyone who was not in the room.
Throughout the rest of the day I continued to think about my DoS; the strange way people assumed I could no longer hear because I was silent, the obnoxious manner in which some students tried to make me talk and break the silence, and the beautifully supportive attitude so many people had towards me. This day has left me with mixed feelings, to say the least. On one hand, it was incredible to see the love and respect that so many people have for the LGBT community. Yet, on the other hand, the pervasive ignorance and hostility I continued to see disgust me.

A Voice
Clearly, and quietly, the DoS exemplifies the importance of having a voice. Fortunately, I am quite out-spoken. I have the good fortune of being passionate about my views and ideas, and caring very little about those dismiss of them. At times this makes me stubborn, but in most cases this makes me strong. Whether it's for LGBT rights, or the environment, or your loved ones, or whatever else moves you -- you must stand for something. 
Obviously, your views and values ignite a fire within you that can dominate and drive who you are. It varies from person to person, but you certainly have little to offer yourself or others if you do not care about anything.
So it's simple. Today was a day to take action, silently, but it spoke volumes. Our objective, no matter who we are, is to do the same.

Questions to Consider

  • What is a cause you are passionate about? Why? [Or, if there isn't any such cause, why not?]
  • How do your strongest convictions play into your daily life? Your identity as a whole? The way you describe yourself?
  • Who or what has influenced you to stand up for whatever you believe in?

No government has the right to tell its citizens when or whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody.
Rita Mae Brown

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post, Jamie! I LOVED your quote at the end. I wish that we could give the LGBT community more than just a day to discuss (or rather, silently illuminate) discrimination, and I, like you, am frustrated and disgusted by the hatred, hostility, and ignorance I witness toward people who simply want to love whom they love. We are unfortunately repeating ugly history, but the Day of Silence at least helped raise awareness and support for those oppressed.-- Kate H