April 11, 2011
>Day of Silence Student Voices: Red O.
>GLSEN Student Ambassador Red O. shares their story of coming out and the importance of the Day of Silence.
With fear, pride, and a shaky voice I was forced to pull my self out of my comfortable yet crammed up closet. The closet I had been a refugee in for as long as I could remember. Their reaction was less violent and dramatic than I had expected. No glass was shattered, but something inside me broke by their reaction. “Stay quiet about this!” my mother demanded. “Don’t you dare tell anyone else about you being like THAT.” Like that? She could not even repeat what I had just told her. A simple three letter word that I usually said happily and proud had been turned into a sick, unmentionable word. Her words were painful, but the look she gave me could kill. “You are confused; You will change your mind when you find the right guy!” she continued as tears rolled down my cheek. I tried to speak but the words just choked me. Tears were all I could release. I stood there frozen as the woman, that held me in her arms when I was younger and put band-aids on my boo-boos, spit hate at me. That night, as I sat in my room both relieved and sad, I heard her say that I was not the child she expected I would be and that she was very disappointed.
Silence! That is what she wanted from me; her loud kid that gets in trouble for being overly hyper and talkative. But you know what? No one can make me feel bad for being myself! I am proud and no one will take that away! You may be able to repress me and keep my mouth shut for a while, but not forever! Soon I will be free to skip in the daisy fields and scream, “I am GAY and proud!” I will fly without a muzzle away from here!
I am lucky though. While I have only been temporarily silenced, others silence is more permanent. Everyday LGBT teens are silenced by their peers, parents, and other authorities. Some are silenced for moments, some for years, others for life. Some are bullied into silence, others are murdered into it. This Day of Silence, I will show support to those who have been muzzled in fear by giving up my voice for a day. It is important that we all stand together to make the echo of silence roar through our communities. Let kids know that they are not alone and that some people really do care.
Stay tuned for more Day of Silence stories. If you would like to share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.