A Day of Silence for LGBTQ Students—April 12, 2019

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Event raises awareness of discrimination in schools

by Emily Dreher, Unspoken Voices Contributor


Day of Silence is an annual observance nationwide to bring awareness to LGBTQ exclusion in schools. Originally organized by University of Virginia students in 1996 — GLSEN has been the official group behind the event since 2001 as part of its mission to advocate for LGBTQ students across the country.

LGBTQ people and young people already have a higher risk of mental health concerns like depression and suicidal thoughts, so the overlap creates an even greater risk, especially when harassment and stigma are involved. Here in Minnesota, many LGBTQ high school students, based on GLSEN’s 2017 state report of its national survey, deal with victimization, lack of resources, and discriminatory practices.

GLSEN’s website offers a trove of resources, from letter prompts to legal advice to lesson plans, to help students and staff organize locally, addressing issues like erasure in curriculums and bullying/harassment.

Notably, the site recommends advance notice and planning with administrators and Lambda Legal’s contact info if needed, but the goal is for wider participation and collaboration to build a more inclusive environment.