For those of you who may not of heard, today is more than just the last day to file your tax returns. It is a day that has a far greater significance. Today is a Day of Silence in support for LGBT youth.

On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.

Across the country, teenagers, such as my daughter, who support equal rights for all, and who reject the unfounded hatred, harassment and bullying of all people, but especially for those in the LGBT community, are dedicating themselves to spreading a message of love, acceptance and concern and support for their fellow human beings who all to often are the brunt of slurs, violent beatings, humiliation and physical and emotional rejection by other kids and even by the adults in their lives, whether teachers, coaches, former friends or even family members, after they have come out as gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgender.

Many of these physically and emotionally abused kids turn to suicide as the only way to deal with the pain of rejection and abuse. Today is a day to stand up and be counted as a man or woman, boy or girl who by their silence shows that they support the human rights of their fellow students and friends to be free from hate; to be free from violence; to be free from shunning; to be free from hate speech; to be free to be who they are and love those whom they wish to love without society’s condemnation.

Today is a day to support all of those who are abused and stigmatized because of the sexual orientation.

What is the Day of Silence®?
The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.

What is GLSEN®?
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit

Who started the Day of Silence?
In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests. Over 150 students participated in this inaugural DOS. In 1997, organizers took their effort nationally and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.

Has the Day of Silence been successful?
In 2008, hundreds of thousands of students from more than 8,000 K-12 schools, colleges and universities organized Day of Silence events. These numbers make the Day of Silence one of the largest student-led actions in the United States. The event has drawn significant attention to LGBT issues in schools over the years. For example, GLSEN spokespersons have appeared on national media outlets and there has always been extensive local media coverage from coast to coast, with numerous interviews with students.

Why do we need a Day of Silence?
Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. […]

Does the work end after the day is over?

The Day of Silence is one element of a larger effort to create safe schools for all students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Many communities, in addition to supporting the Day of Silence, host Breaking The Silence events, rallies, legislative lobby days, performances and more – both on the Day of Silence and all year round. We are also asking our national leaders to support policies that create safe schools for all. Many communities are asking their local and state leaders to support and implement similar policies. You can get connected to an ongoing national effort by registering your GSA with GLSEN at

What do you have to say about potential opponents to the Day of Silence?
The issue at hand is the bullying, harassment, name-calling and violence that students see and face in our schools. The Day of Silence is an activity created and led by students to educate their peers and bring an end to this harassment.

We look forward to engaging all organizations and individuals who share The Day of Silence vision of schools free from anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.

Those who do not support the Day of Silence often protest, but rarely contribute positively to finding ways to end anti-LGBT harassment. Some individuals and groups organize events in response to the Day of Silence. These events grossly mischaracterize or simply misunderstand the basic purpose of the Day of Silence. Bringing attention to these events only adds a false credibility to their misinformation about the Day of Silence, GLSEN and the thousands of American students taking action on April 17th. If you face hostile students or organizations in your school on the Day of Silence remember to remain calm. We encourage you to not get into a debate, make gestures, and certainly not to get into a physical altercation. If you continue to be harassed, we encourage you to contact your GSA advisor or other ally school staff person.

This is a cause worth fighting for. Each month the number of kids who attempt suicide as a result of the constant harassment and bullying they receive for openly, or sometimes not so openly out of fear, trying to be who they are is a reminder to alll of us that intolerance, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination ans bullying leave scars, scars both seenn and unseen. The way to fight those who would deprive their fellow human beings of those rights so may of us take for granted, to oppose those who would taunt and bully, abuse and harass LGBT youth is to stand up for the LGBT youth in your community, in your schools and in your life.

My daughter is proudly wearing a t-shirt that is shown at this link at her school today, as are thousands of teens just like her, who believe in equal rights for everyone.

You can support their message and their stand against intolerance by tweeting your support for the Day of Silence. You can post this link to the Day of Silence website on your Facebook page, blog or other social media.

Most of all you can help by showing and telling other people who express bigotry or hatred every day against LGBT individuals that you support the right of LGBT people, and especially LGBT youth to be free from fear and free from abuse and free from bullying and free from harassment.

You can call people out for their use of slurs and other language meant to intimidate and punish members of the LGBT community. You can let them know that their behavior is unacceptable and immoral and you wiil not stand for it. You can report incidents of bullying or abuse in your schools and workplaces. And you can proudly proclaim to all that no one, gay or straight, deserves to be treated as a second class citizen, no one deserves to be bullied or taunted or harassed or beaten or made to feel ashamed because of who they are, and that everyone, regardless of who they may love is equal to everyone else in this world and deserves our respect and the right to live their lives with dignity.

And of you can, please donate to GLSEN at their website.

Thank you.

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