Silent statement

GSA members hope to raise awareness of LGBT bullying, harassment through Day of Silence


Stu Mair

Senior Morgan Garrett is one of many students participating in Thursday’s Day of Silence organized by the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Jordan Toomey, Staff Reporter

The Gay-Straight Alliance is closing out their first year as an organization by celebrating the Day of Silence on April 28th and hosting a Breaking the Silence event on April 29th.

“The Day of Silence is a national event that high schools and colleges all across the country do and the point of the day of silence is to bring awareness to LGBT bullying and harassment,” GSA co-founder Sonali Mehta said. “Eighty to ninety percent of LGBT teenagers experience bullying and harassment and that’s completely disproportional to their peer groups, so [the Day of Silence] is to raise awareness of bullying and harassment in schools and to get people to think about the voices they’re not hearing.”

Participating in the Day of Silence is completely voluntary, and participants will remain silent throughout the day as long as it doesn’t interfere with their education.

“On the day of, people who are participating are choosing not to speak for the day, unless specifically asked by their teachers, and they’ll have a card explaining what the purpose is as they go through their day,” Mehta said. “So if people ask them questions and they don’t respond, they’ll have a card to keep spreading awareness that way.”

The day after the Day of Silence, the GSA is hosting an event at Blue House Too in Watter’s Creek to celebrate with anyone who would like to attend.

“On Friday at Watter’s Creek we’re having a ‘Break the Silence’ event with music and poetry,” Mehta said. “And we’re just celebrating together all of the advances that have come so far with [LGBT] issues.”

Members of the GSA seemed excited to participate in both the day itself and the “Breaking the Silence” event.

“After bringing awareness to things and doing something good, we get to have fun with our friends who are like-minded and also gay or support gay people,” senior Alex Thompson said. “They are doing good things with us by bringing awareness to LGBT struggles.”

GSA advisor Brian Erskine said Thursday’s event spreads a “desperately needed” message for the campus.

“It’s not OK that you’re bullied,” Erskine said. “It’s not OK that we’re overlooking the higher instances of self-harm and suicide. It’s not OK that we’re pretending there’s not a problem, and silence is our way of bringing attention to problems that desperately need to be addressed at our school.”