April 5, 2010
>Day of Silence Student Voices: Kristin (Sanford, ME)
>A few weeks ago, we asked Day of Silence registrants to submit videos and testimonials, explaining why the Day of Silence was important to them and why they chose to participate. We’ll be posting our favorite submissions in the days leading up to April 16, and students whose pieces are published will receive a Day of Silence t-shirt.
We’re still accepting submissions, which you can send to email@example.com. Please include your mailing address and t-shirt size in the email so we can mail the shirt on time. Videos should be uploaded to YouTube and the link to the video emailed to us. Be sure to get your work in as soon as possible, and don’t forget to register for the Day of Silence as well!
The first entry is from Kristin, a junior from Sanford, Maine. Great work, Kristin!
Many teenagers, when faced with a social issue, would say, “This doesn’t apply to me,” and move on with their lives. The notion is understandable, really, since most people do this daily on a smaller scale, including me. It’s in human nature that if something doesn’t directly involve us, it’s likely that we will not involve ourselves. When it comes to human rights, however, I feel that everyone should be involved.
The issue of the rights and welfare of LGBT students –and even of LGBT people from all ages and walks of life– is not a “gay issue” in the same way that domestic violence is not a “women’s issue.” It’s not a “gay issue” in the same way that genocide in Darfur is not an “African issue.” The solution to a problem can only be found by involving all parties, including the victim, the perpetrator, and the bystander. At the heart of the Day of Silence is the desire to end the bullying, harassment, and abuse that is heaped daily upon the shoulders of LGBT students in schools across the country, and this purpose cannot be achieved without the help of all involved.
As a technically bisexual teenager that mostly errs on the straight side, many of the people in my life don’t know about my orientation and wonder why it is that I’m neck-deep in this issue. These are the people that assume that the matter of LGBT rights is a “gay issue.” When kids as young as thirteen years old are getting bullied because they’re “not the same as everyone else,” and when it’s impossible for teenagers to feel safe in their own schools for fear of being beat up for dating others of the same sex, and when kids like Lawrence King get KILLED because of something as simple as human difference—THAT is why it becomes my issue. That is why this is EVERYONE’S issue. The rights of LGBT students are not simply matters of human disagreement, but are matters of life or death, dissent or well-being. We’re all in this together and we have a duty as students to protect each other, defend each other, and make sure that everyone feels safe in his or her own school.
The Day of Silence is about showing people the importance of equal rights for everyone. It’s about letting people know that harassment and bullying will not be tolerated in our schools. However, this day is also about showing people how important it is that everyone be concerned, because the well-being and lives of our fellow students are in peril. Nothing will ever be changed until the silence is broken.