Friday, April 15 is the Day of Silence

glsenStudents: take a stand against bullying and harassment!

Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence is now the largest student demonstration for creating safer schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

By taking a vow of silence, students call attention to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in schools.

The first Day of Silence was organized in 1996 by Maria Pulzetti, a student at the University of Virginia, with 150 classmates.  One year later, over 100 colleges and universities had joined the cause.  In 2001, Day of Silence became an official project of GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on creating safe and affirming school environments for all students.

milwaukeepride_dayofsilenceNow celebrating its 20th year, Day of Silence mobilizes over 10,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in an annual chorus for change.

In recent years, anti-LGBTQ groups have protested Day of Silence, stating that the event promotes homosexuality in public schools and creates a hostile climate for students of faith.   By legitimizing bullying and harassment, these groups have sought to silence awareness, advocacy and support for LGBTQ youth when it’s needed most.

Bullying has devastating consequences.  Nine of ten LGBTQ students experience harassment on a regular basis.  Every time a child is bullied, it increases their likelihood of self-harm.Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among students aged 10-24, with LGBTQ youth four times as likely to attempt suicide as straight peers.

One of six students seriously considered suicide this school year.

“Milwaukee Pride, Inc. is committed to developing the next generation of local LGBTQ leadership,” said Scott Gunkel, president. “Every day, our future leaders are being silenced — if not erased — by bullying that is often ignored, dismissed or downplayed.  When a student reports being bullied to teachers, administrators or parents, they often feel that they aren’t being heard.”

“The Day of Silence is a way to lend support to anyone who is not feeling heard.  It is a day for acknowledging everyone’s right to a safe and affirming school experience.”

Students: how can you get involved?

Milwaukee Pride, Inc. is proud to call GLSEN among its Proud Partners.  Together, we will champion issues facing LGBTQ youth in education and create the next generation of leaders.