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WMHS LGBTQ+ club participates in Day of Silence

Day+of+Silence+poster+from+GLSEN+organization.+Credit%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fwww.glsen.org%2Fprotecttransyouth+
Day of Silence poster from GLSEN organization. Credit: http://www.glsen.org/protecttransyouth

Day of Silence poster from GLSEN organization. Credit: http://www.glsen.org/protecttransyouth

GLSEN

GLSEN

Day of Silence poster from GLSEN organization. Credit: http://www.glsen.org/protecttransyouth

Lee Robinson

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To bring awareness to the silencing effects of bullying and harassment towards LGBTQ+ students, Watkins Mill High School’s LGBTQ club chose to participate in GLSEN’s Day of Silence.

The Day of Silence is a student-led national event organized by thousands of schools around the world. The goal is to show how queer kids around the world feel when the conditions they are in force them to be quiet about their identity. “Every year, April 21 is considered a day of silence,” LGBTQ club sponsor Scott Tarzwell said. “It’s when we in the community, not just LGBTQ members but also friends and supporters, choose to be silent because if enough of us are silent, the silence will be deafening.”

For students who participated in the day, the LGBTQ club provided whiteboards for communications, preventing the day from being a distraction from the school day.

Bullying and harassment is a common problem for LGBTQ students. “I know a lot of people who are unable to come out as gay or as part of the LGBT community,” freshman Stephen Ventura said. “So I feel like the day of silence really amplifies that.” Whether it is family, religion, or community keeping students from feeling free to come out, this day is to help show people how it feels to have to censor a part of yourself.

Though society has come very far in the ongoing battle for equality, homophobia is still quite prominent. But not in the ways one might think. ”I mean obviously homophobia isn’t right, and people know that,” Ventura added. “But there’s still like ‘oh that’s gay’ or ‘you’re a fag.’ I feel like things like that will be less tolerated in the future, that’s what I hope this day accomplishes.”

“I think it’s a very powerful, symbolic gesture for people who feel like they are silenced by society but also by showing solidarity with those they know have been silenced,” English teacher Sonya Shpilyuk said. “It shows how, the silence experienced by the LGBT community–or their deaths–affects the general community.”

Although the movement was not widely participated in at Watkins Mill, this is definitely not what the future holds. “I think that as this movement grows it won’t just be our one club participating. Straight people will do it, gay people do it, trans youth will do it,” Ventura said. “I feel like at that point, homophobia won’t be as accepted as it is now.”

“When I think about the future of this day, I think the silence will have a more powerful effect because maybe we’re leaning towards a time where awareness is no longer necessary because everybody is already so aware,” Shpilyuk added. The silence will amplify as time goes on.

Although not popular, this day is a sign of solidarity. “It is about being brave,” Tarzwell said. “But we’ve got to think in bigger sense. It’s not just being brave for the individual, it’s about being brave for society.”

“A big part of coming out is the silence that comes before it,” Ventura said. “The silence is a metaphor for what you’re hiding. You’re hiding yourself and then once you speak, it’s out there.”

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The student news site of Watkins Mill High School
WMHS LGBTQ+ club participates in Day of Silence