Day of silence: What will you do to end anti-LGBT discrimination?

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The Day of Silence is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) annual national event that brings attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the Day of Silence happens in April. In 2014, it takes place on Friday April 11.

The Day of Silence is a student-led action involving students from middle school to college. The students take a vow of silence for all or part of the day to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

Silence is chosen as the method to address the problem because it illustrates the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT. The Day of Silence represents how harassment and bullying can silence other students and the supporters of LGBT students.

The first Day of Silence was held in 1996 at the University of Virginia. Twelve years later, in 2008, the Day of Silence grew to encompass over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the United States.

Students are encouraged to obtain permission from their school before organizing the event.

The 2014 Day of Silence is supported by Lambda Legal and GLSEN.

Lambda Legal have produced a “Frequently Asked Questions” answer sheet to help individual students prepare and participate in the day.

This video explains why the Day of Silence is important and what it hopes to achieve.

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