Today, classmates at my school participated in the Day of Silence, a nationwide youth effort to bring awareness to the suffering of the LGBT community caused by ignorance, name-calling and harassment. I am a strong supporter of the cause and I participated in previous years, but this year, I did not. I never felt fully invested in the event, and I think that’s because I didn’t know many people who were a part of the LGBT community. However, the 2011 Day of Silence opened my eyes to my connection to the community and made me proud to be a part of the teenagers of today.
When a friend asked me read his statement to our class, I didn’t fully grasp the depth of what I was asked to do. After reading it aloud and joining my classmates in applauding, I realized that I was just trusted with something incredibly important: someone else’s voice.
Our voices, our opinions, our primary outlets of communication are the strongest vehicle for change we possess. Obviously, the students participating hadn’t actually lost the ability to speak, but the symbolism and meaning behind their actions was powerful and demonstrated the injustice of those who are forced into silence because of who they are.
The last line of my friend’s statement was especially poignant. He wrote, “Today, through silence, I speak”. I really believe that this sums up the goal of the day perfectly. I just hope that someday, we won’t have to devote a day to raise awareness because there won’t be anything to be made aware of.
Since my last DoS, I’ve gotten to know a lot more about the LGBT community, thanks to an amazing blog and the friendships of some wonderful people. I’m so proud that this is an event that created by my generation. We may be materialistic, pampered, impudent or a host of other unfortunate adjectives that teenagers are typically labeled, but through events like the Day of Silence, we can proudly say that we are the most tolerant and open generation in history.