'Day of Silence' Analyzes

By , Sandy, UT
Silence. Thick and un-wavering as it consumes the air around it, but it’s a different silence than what most people expect; it’s a silence that is so loud that it practically screams to the heavens at full volume. It’s the silence of a protest. This is what I thought of when I was first told about the ‘Day of Silence’ that was going to occur at our school on Friday, April 15th, 2011. The ‘Day of Silence’ was to commemorate the silence Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, and Transgender people at our school go through every day of their lives and the bullying they’re put through. When I was told about this by a friend, I ultimately decided to join the protest, thinking about how interesting it would be to stay silent for a day in order to stand up for a deserving cause, but the results of this protest beyond surprised me. Halfway through the day, I decided to take notes on all the things that happened, interested by my findings.

Originally, the ‘Day of Silence’ was advertized through Facebook, but had only been taken seriously at our school by a certain girl who had done the ‘Day of Silence’ at her old school. The teacher at that school had yelled at her for staying silent, threatening to send the girl to the principal’s office if she did not speak, but the girl, fully believing in the cause, refused to speak. Finally, the teacher snapped, and yelled about how gay marriage was immoral and about how the girl was wrong to do what she was doing. The girl was sent to the principal’s office, and ended up suing the teacher for trying to force her to speak. After hearing this story, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to join the protest, and the day of there was a sudden announcement on the intercom, saying something close to ‘Students, in order for today to occur, you must have a note signed by your parents giving you permission…the students who are doing this know what I’m talking about.’ I was kinda surprised, of course, I knew they we’re talking about the ‘Day of Silence’ but we’re they really only referring to it as ‘You know what I’m talking about’? I guessed they didn’t wish to offend anyone who may be against the protest, but it still confused me. I didn’t know we we’re supposed to have a note, and since the school didn’t exactly ‘advertize’ the ‘Day of Silence’, I didn’t know the rules that were required to be able to take place in the event. Obviously, others like me didn’t know that either, because some stopped their protest right then and there, in fear of getting in trouble or getting sent to the principal’s office. I decided to not give up on the cause, and texted my parents asking them for permission. They texted back shortly, saying they we’re proud of me for doing this and that I had their permission. I was happy to have my parents support, but just in case this wasn’t satisfactory enough for my teachers, I just went to hoping that they wouldn’t call on me. Luckily, none of my teachers did and my classes went on without any trouble, and for the first few, seldom people noticed that I wasn’t speaking. It wasn’t until my forth period that I realized how easily people showed their true colors.

My friend in my fourth period came in, greeting me like he usually did, though I didn’t say anything back, and mentally kicked myself for being rude, but the vow of silence was more important, that much I knew, so I stayed silent. He looked at me for a moment before realizing, and then apologized, saying he didn’t know. It wasn’t until my other friend walked in that I understood the extent of my protest. My other friend was against the whole thing, not because he thought gay marriage was wrong, but because he didn’t believe in standing up for people who didn’t stand up for themselves. In a way, I wanted to yell at him, yell that people can only stand up to bullies for so long before they snap, and this protest was essential to display that we we’re there to anyone for help, but I knew he wouldn’t have listened, even if I could’ve spoken, we’re all kinda hard-headed that way. My friend who had been against the whole thing told me to speak and I refused, I didn’t want to talk, I wanted to be there for the people who couldn’t speak up for themselves, but I ended up slipping up, and I don’t think I had ever felt so ashamed in my life, I vowed not to speak the rest of the day, though the fact that a sound escaped my lips even once still haunts me…

The true blood of this protest came out during our lunch period, where everyone’s opinions were out in the open, and I know it will be hard to look at people the same way again. A theater friend of mine was also carrying out with the protest, as I expected she would. In fact, she may have been the most believing of the cause at our table, as she refused to open her mouth for any reason, I wouldn’t have been surprised even if she had glued her mouth shut. It was then that I heard a voice that astounded me; it was the voice of my best friend. She was talking, she wasn’t staying silent, and it bewildered me. She had told me on Thursday that she couldn’t stay silent for a day, but I thought that was only because she didn’t know what the ‘Day of Silence’ was for, but I didn’t know she really wasn’t going to go through the protest with me. I truly was a little surprised, but I got over it, but what was even more astonishing, is what I heard her, as well as everyone around me, say. My best friend openly explained how confused she was on how the ‘Day of Silence’ was to change anything and how she didn’t support the cause. My theater friend had practically leaped from her chair, silently yelling and swearing at my friend for what she had been saying, while I just stood there, her words echoing in my mind: “How will it change anything?” I thought about it for a long time, before realizing that perhaps it wasn’t to change something drastically, but perhaps to show any Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, and Transgender people at our school that we we’re there for them, that some people cared about what they we’re going through, and not everyone thought that they we’re ‘abominations’ to the world. My resolve to stay silent strengthened as I watched my angered theater friend stalk off. My best friend was also fuming, saying that no one had the right to swear at her because she didn’t support a cause that ‘didn’t affect’ her and how her father would have called the school and complained about the students staying silent, and how she didn’t even want to know what he would do if he found out what was happening. That was another phrase that stuck with me. It didn’t affect her, or…so she thought. She was the one who had to live in a world where people weren’t treated equal, yet…it didn’t affect her? And her dad, would he really have complained? It all confused me, and I wanted to ask her about it, but the silence prevented me. Another girl agreed with her, stating that she didn’t believe the cause either, and she had later told me that she thought people who we’re Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, or Transgender had something molecularly wrong with them. I couldn’t believe my ears, something “wrong with them?” How was that possible? How could someone have something wrong with them for just being who they are? It had almost been like saying something was wrong with someone because of their hair color, or their race, how was something “wrong with them?” Yet again, another person at our table agreed with the two, stating that people who are Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, and Transgender are usually people who grow up in certain families with absent or bad father figures, and that they choose to be the way they we’re. That was the last straw for me, I was angry, but tried my best not to show it, was this really the way my friends thought? I turned to the boy who had said that they choose to be who they are and began mouthing how that was not true, about how they don’t ‘choose’ to be who they are, just like how he, as well as everyone else, didn’t choose to be who they are. He told me that I was right that they didn’t choose to be brought up the way they we’re, but they did choose to be ‘gay’. My best friend started to say something about how the Bible stated that it was a man and a woman who we’re meant to be together, and I’m sure that if I had been drinking something at that moment, I would have spit it out. Since when had she ever been religious? The boy next to me agreed, and all I could do was sit there in my silence. It was then that I wondered if this was what the Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, and Transgender community at our school had to go through every day, having to stay silent, in fear of being bullied. I felt so trapped and out-numbered, but mostly just dizzy. My mind instantly went back to history class; Slavery, the Holocaust, Women’s rights, it was all the same, wasn’t it? They we’re all discriminated against, and they all got their rights, and they got them because we we’re supposed to be America, the land of the free, but the fight for freedom was STILL going on, this time between the Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, and Transgender community. Thinking about all of this…it made me wonder, was America really free? We’re we all really, and truly, as free as we say we are?

Needless to say, experiencing the ‘Day of Silence’ thoroughly changed my life, and my perception. I know now that I want to work in order to fight for the freedom of others, and I want the world to be a joyous and equal place for everyone. Even if the situation ‘doesn’t affect me,’ I will fight for others and help them with every fiber in my being, and hopefully, my journey will start with this one single analyzes, and end with something greater.





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