Coming Out in Silence
Sophomore year was coming to an end, and I had survived my first year in an American high school. I had just moved to the US from halfway across the globe and as I was finally getting over home sickness and settling in to my new life I was realizing something about myself that I did not like. Something I did not understand completely and could not identify anyone to talk to about. Being queer was ostracized in my culture and never spoken of with my friends.
Two years ago on a seemingly normal Monday, someone at lunch had mentioned that there was a Gay-Straight Alliance forming in our school and that they were having their first meeting that Friday. I made a quick joke about it and changed the subject. However as the week progressed I found the courage to tell my brother that I was thinking of going to the GSA meeting. Without question he said that he would accompany me. Soon Friday had arrived and coincidently it was also the Day of Silence. Although there was nothing official happening, a lot of students were wearing red to show their support and remained silent throughout the day. It took all the courage I had to walk into that first meeting. As I walked in I saw familiar faces: my classmates, my brother, a teacher I had seen around campus. I was welcomed with a smile and offered snacks.
That Day of Silence I did not come of the closet, in fact I was far from even coming out to myself. However that Friday, in Room 119, I had come out as an ally to LGBT youth. That is the power of the Day of Silence: it gives students a platform to stand up against bullying and show solidarity with LGBT students.
Seeing affirmative students and an adult at that first GSA meeting and during Day of Silence made a world of difference for me. Since then we have a well established GSA at our school and have over a hundred students and teachers participating in the Day of Silence. Today I am a committed LGBT youth activist and have found agency through self advocacy but I am here because of the support of amazing peers and my GSA advisor. I know how lucky I am to have counselors, teachers and even the principal who are supportive and know that is not the case for a lot of students across the nation and around the world. This is my call to all students. Take part in the nation’s largest student led actions; pledge a day of silence this April 15th; pledge a commitment to making schools safer for all students.
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