The following is an unedited transcript of a series of phone messages we received in the days following Lawrence King's murder. It tells you all you need to know about what students endure every day and why we need the Day of Silence. This will be very disturbing for some, so we advise caution in reading on.
I just want to say that I think what you are doing is pretty disgusting, trying to push your perversions on straight kids that are in schools and stuff. You’ve got no business being in schools, OK. We don’t need your kind of crap.
Stop trying to spread your filthy perversions on innocent children. Those are not your children. They are other people’s children. They don’t have to accept your perverted nastiness. I mean, come on. When are you guys going to get a clue? You do perverted sex acts on each other. And that’s the kind of crap that you want to push on innocent little children? God is going to punish you.
Yeah, and also by the way, that 15-year-old Lawrence King pretty much got what he deserved, really, because he was allowed to walk around school wearing makeup and women’s jewelry and acting and trying to push it. What’s up with that? Why doesn’t anybody say anything about that? That kind of nonsense doesn’t even belong in school. Boys should act like boys and dress like boys, and girls should dress like girls. And that’s the end of it. If he didn’t want to draw any unneeded attention aside from acting gay, then, maybe that wouldn’t have happened. There’s something for you to think about. And of course you guys will never see that. You just see what you want to see. You want to act out your perversions and have everyone accept it and force it down everyone’s throat. You’ve got no right going into the public schools. It’s one thing to defend someone who’s wrongfully abused in a situation, but that’s the family’s responsibility. It certainly isn’t yours to bring into the public schools and force your filth on innocent girls and boys.
>For the queer community, Lawrence King's murder is still very much a current topic. Vigils were recently held all over the country and his face can be seen everywhere in the gay media. Ellen DeGeneres even helped bring the news of his death to the mainstream media.
As tragic as his murder is, it has been good for the queer community to have a face to put with our cause. Almost exactly 10 years after Matthew Shepard's murder, we can easily argue that there is still so much work to be done.
The Advocate recently published an article about Lawrence King's murder and asked the question, "Who's to blame?" The article went on to suggest that the blame lies with those who urged Lawrence King to be himself, thereby putting him in danger of homophobic class mates. I strongly suggest you check out that article, as well as a response letter from various LGBT organizations condemning the article and its implications.
GLSEN has done a really good job in bringing attention to his murder and this year Day of Silence is being done in Lawrence King's memory. While I truly believe that this will greatly benefit the exposure Day of Silence's cause will get, we should not lost sight of the greater picture.
Tomorrow, students will be carrying around cards that state, "I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination." This should stand as a reminder to us all to not single anyone out.
Millions of people around the world - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, straight allies - are nameless victims of homophobia and heterosexism by being forced into the closet. By participating in Day of Silence, you are not only giving them a name, but a voice.
I wish all you DOSsers the best of luck and stay safe!
>Day of Silence registration continues to break records. We just passed students registering from 6,800 middle and high schools! We'd love to pass 7,000. Make sure you sign up if you haven't yet.
Last year at this time, we had slightly more than 4,000.
Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to make sure that what happened to Lawrence King never happens again.
This map shows the concentration of student-led Day of Silence events around the country for 2008. There are events being held in all states and the darker the color the more DOS events. The underlying data was supplied by students who registered their participation at StudentOrganizing.org.
>CNN talk show host Larry King has made a PSA to call attention to the death of Lawrence (Larry) King and the problem of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. This is the second time in a week that a well-known personality has made a video tribute for this year's National Day of Silence. GLSEN would like to thank Larry King for taking the time from his busy schedule during Tuesday night's election primary coverage to tape this spot:
(Give it a couple of seconds to get started.)
>Tomorrow is Southern Connecticut State University's Annual Day of Silence celebration, and in less than twelve hours, LGBT Prism, my university's Gay/Straight Alliance; the SCSU chapter of Amnesty International, an international human rights organization; and a dozen of other student clubs and allies will be demonstrating on the large bridge that connects East and West Campuses and standing silently for about four hours. There will be some "Speaking People" to help coordinate how people will be spread out on the bridge and around campus; take pictures; talk to students passing by if they have questions about the people staying silent; and talk with the media should they arrive. We also know that many members of the campus community are staying silent in their classes; fortunately, the faculty and administration have been very supportive. We feel very lucky to have gotten so much support from the university. We are expecting even more people at our community vigil/speak-out later tomorrow night, which will be taped and sent to the president of the university. Even though she cannot attend, she has told us that she supports our message 100%!
I have received questions from many of my fellow students and some faculty about what to do if you can't stay silent. For instance, one of my fellow peers, a wondeful ally of the LGBT community, states that she has three or four oral presentations (one in Japanese!) tomorrow and can't stay silent or else she will fail her assignments. Moreover, one supportive faculty member told me she had already planned an important lecture for her class that cannot be held back and is conflicted as to how to observe the Day of Silence.
Fortunately, I was able to give these two people good tips on how to observe the Day of Silence, even if they can't stay silent for all or any part of the day:
1. If you're a student, let people know what the Day of Silence is and what people are doing nation/worldwide to observe or celebrate it. It is always good to let people know what the Day of Silence is and, more importantly, why it's so important even if everyone in your campus community is not observing it. By spreading the word and garnering support from students and school staff this year, you might be able to organize a Day of Silence the following year that will engage more students and gain more administrative support. Word-of-mouth is the strongest form of publicity!
2. If you're a teacher, incorporate the theme or message of the Day of Silence into your lesson plans. The faculty member at SCSU who I talked to stated that she was doing a lecture on oppression in Mexico, so I advised her that she should connect the Day of Silence's anti-oppression message with the issue of prejudice and discrimination in Mexico. Not only will this create a meaningful relationship between the Day of Silence and a course topic, but it also has the potential to mobilize students to learn more about the topic and take action.
I think it's important to remember that just because the Day of Silence requires one to stay silent, that does not mean that it makes one invinsible. Unfortunately, the many types of oppression that exist within society force one to be marginalized to the point of invisibility. However, our shared purpose for this day of action should be to show our communities that silence can often speak louder than words and serve as the mirror for people's own prejudices and societal bigotry.
>City of Dallas supports youth-led call for an end to the bullying and harassment. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has proclaimed Friday, April 25, 2008 as Day of Silence Day in the city.
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR/CITY OF DALLAS
WHEREAS, the National Day of Silence is a day in which students take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools, including students, teachers, and other school staff;
WHEREAS, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has designated one day of every April as the National Day of Silence;
WHEREAS, the 2008 National Day of Silence will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 14-year-old California student who was shot and killed in school in February by a 14-year-old classmate because of King’s sexual orientation and gender identity/expression;
WHEREAS, more than 500,000 students from more than 5,000 junior and high schools participated in the National Day of Silence in previous years;
WHEREAS, more than 80 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students have been verbally harassed at school by their peers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression;
WHEREAS, nearly 40 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students were physically harassed by their peers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression;
WHEREAS, nearly 20 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students were physically assaulted by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression;
WHEREAS, 40 States do not have laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from name-calling, bullying, and harassment that occurs at school because of sexual orientation ; and
WHEREAS, every child should be guaranteed an education free from name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression; Now, therefore, be it;
NOW, THEREFORE, I TOM LEPPERT, mayor of the City of Dallas and on behalf of the Dallas City Council do herby proclaim April 25, 2008 as
Day of Silence Day
In Dallas, Texas.
RALLY: The Dallas chapter of GLSEN, in partnership with Youth First Texas, has organized over 20 Dallas and Ft. Worth community organizations to join with the Day of Silence student participants for the first ever Breaking the Silence Rally.
The event, designed to show support for schools that are free from violence and harassment, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on April 25 in Reverchon Park, located near the intersection of Maple and Oak Lawn in Dallas.
>The ACLU has some tips for students who plan to participate in the Day of Silence.
1. You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day. If your principal or a teacher tells you otherwise, you should contact the ACLU national office or GLSEN national headquarters at GLSEN.ORG.
2. You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak. If you want to stay quiet during class on Day of Silence, we recommend that you talk to your teachers ahead of time, tell them what you plan to do, and ask them if it would be okay for you to communicate on that day in writing. Most teachers will probably say yes.
3. Your school is NOT required to "sponsor" Day of Silence. A lot of schools this year are announcing that they aren’t sponsoring Day of Silence due to pressure from national anti-gay groups. But Day of Silence is rarely a school-sponsored activity to begin with — it’s almost always an activity led by students. So don’t be confused — just because your school is saying that the school won’t officially sponsor or participate in Day of Silence doesn’t mean that it’s saying you can’t participate.
4. Students who oppose Day of Silence DO have the right to express their views, too. Like you, they must do so in a civil, peaceful way and they must limit their expression to non-instructional time. They do NOT have a right to skip school on Day of Silence without any consequences, just as you don’t have a right to skip school just because you don’t like what they think or say.
Lambda Legal also provides these tips: click here for PDF.