April 15th - Day of Silence
Our high school Gay Straight Alliance club, one of the clubs I sponsor, observed the "Day of Silence" April 15th. Our school has 720 students and approximately 50 students and staff were silent for the entire school day. This day is observed every April 15th as a show of support for Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, and Questioning students who can't or won't "come out" for fear of bullying and other forms of non-support. The GSA at our high school has 30 members who mostly identify as "straight" but support the efforts of the Gay community in their efforts for equality. I was very proud of the group who struggled through the day quietly. My silence was also in support of people who live with HIV everyday and have to remain silent whether they are Gay or Straight. Teaching classes silently had moments of frustration for me especially as I love conversing with students. We had an after party at the end of the school day with food, conversations around the experience and then watched video clips from the 1980's Whoopie Goldberg tour - she in character as a junkie, a small girl with a white shirt on her head (her long blonde hair), and a couple of other clips that weren't too racy to show high school students. We discussed perceptions people have of others who appear different and how the idea of "normal" fits in the high school experience. The discussion was lively, interesting and powerful. We had students from another local high school and two middle schools who are interested in starting their own GSA. We are sharing the love!
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