Today (April 17) marks the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) annual day of silence, created to raise awareness about the bullying and harassment that LGBT youth often experience in schools.
The Day of Silence began in 1996, and GLSEN have been sponsoring it since 2001. Youth are encouraged to take a vow of silence for the entire day in order to influence both schools and their fellow classmates to take action against bullying.
“This is a day that can expose communities as important as schools and campuses to the ways LGBT people are silenced as a result of unfair treatment, name calling, and harassment. This day serves as a positive educational experience for all who are exposed to it, as it can promote discussion and raise consciousness,” LGBT rights organization GLAAD wrote on its website.
Unfortunately, even in 2015, the attention that the Day of Silence brings is still vital, because the danger for LGBT youth continues to be real and present.
“Despite significant progress, our most recent National School Climate Survey shows that 85 percent of LGBT students were verbally harassed in the past year and 30 percent missed at least one day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. As most states still do not have anti-bullying, anti-harassment and nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT youth, the Day of Silence is as relevant and important as ever,” Jenny Betz, Director of Education and Youth Programs at GLSEN, told The Huffington Post.
Anyone can participate on social media, using the hashtag #DayOfSilence.