April 16, 2010

Day of Silence 2010

Today's the annual Day of Silence. In high school, this event was a big deal - there were usually only a handful of us participating, and you had to fend questions all day without being able to speak, avoid teachers who might try to make you talk, fight with administration for the right to put up posters. One year the boys at my lunch table spent lunch trying to demonstrate how pointless it was by making anti-gay jokes; another year I got my whole creative writing class sucked into a debate when one girl didn't understand why I was doing it and some other girls jumped to my defense.

Here, the event is also a big deal - in the entirely opposite direction. They made Day of Silence t-shirts to hand out, and all of them were gone within two days - a thousand or more t-shirts. I overheard administrators reminding each other to wear them. I'm not sure how many people are actually taking vows of silence for the day, but the idea at least is well-supported and I imagine the events - a silent vigil and a "breaking the silence" party later - will be well-attended.

So... what's the point? Always the question, whether I'm doing it in high school or here at "gay mecca." We're certainly not protesting discrimination at OUR school (though Cuccinelli's attempt to reinstate discrimination in Virginia schools could certainly be seen as a "silencing," it's pretty much a non-issue at this point).

The PRISM (queer club) president said it this way:
"The Day of Silence is intended to recognize those in the GLBTTQQIAAP community who have been forced to remain silent about their identity due to hate and ignorance. The Day of Silence is an event to celebrate all members of the community and acknowledge the struggle they have faced. "

I really like that. This an incredibly open school - there's a lot of ability to be out and proud and a wide support system. But when we all go home in a couple of weeks, that won't be the reality for a lot of people. I like the idea of setting aside a day to acknowledge that sometimes being gay really sucks, but there's a community here to support and celebrate us all.

So... That's why I'm silent today! Don't worry, I'll be back to loud and obnoxious first thing tomorrow.


Foxie said...

What's GLBTTQQIAAP stand for?

Back when I was at uni (almost ten years ago now) there was the GLB, which was Gay, Lesbian, and Bi. Then a T got added for Transexual. Is the other T for transgender? And a Q for queer? (What's the difference between gay and queer, btw?) But after that, I get lost.

I understand that everyone deserves to be represented, but that acronym does strike me as rather unweildy...

Spiffy said...

-deep breath-

Gay lesbian bi transgender transexual queer questioning intersex asexual ally pansexual.

Gay is liking people of the same sex, queer is a more general term - it just means "not heterosexual."

The acronym is incredibly unwieldy. But it's always kind of funny watching people try to say the whole thing! We usually say "alphabet soup" for short (or "GLBTQ etc etc")

Foxie said...

Maybe I should start a campaign for an extra 'A'--for us anthrozoasexuals :)