Tomorrow (Friday, 25th April) marks this year’s Day of Silence in America.
The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996 and its purpose is to highlight the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students, and their supporters.
The organisers GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) say that this year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15 year old California student who was shot and killed in February by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. (See also this post elsewhere at TFW).
The dedication to Lawrence King is made even more poignant in the light of the news earlier this week (see Pam’s House Blend and The Bilerico Project) that the alleged murderer’s attorney is pushing the trans-panic defence – most notably (but not only) used in the trials following the murders of Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo and Sanesha Stewart, to name but three…
But it should be noted that there are dissenting voices to the Day of Silence, perhaps most notably the Liberty Counsel (curtsey to Pam’s House Blend for the link). Many of the groups who oppose the Day of Silence have formed a loose coalition to protest against the protesters, see this page of the World Net Daily site for the full list.
It’s interesting to note that, according to the Liberty Counsel’s letter, being silent in class may be deemed likely to cause “a substantial disruption or material interference with school activities” and is therefore “not permitted and is not protected under the First Amendment“. Well, okay, so speech isn’t silence – but prohibiting silence seems a curious way to protect the freedom of speech. As ever, when people start talking about freedom, it’s never entirely clear whether they mean ‘freedom from’ or ‘freedom to’.
I found this video on the Day of Silence website, I think it’s worth a look.
None of us are safe until all of us are safe…
Later edit: Those of a ‘pro-violence-to-LGBT-students’ disposition might wish to look at the Day of Truth website, which “was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective”.
Conversely, those of an ‘anti-violence-to-LGBT-students’ disposition might also wish to look at the Day of Truth website to remind themselves of the violently reactionary kneejerk hate speech to which far too many LGBTQ people are subject…
Posted at The F Word on 24 April 2008
©2008 Helen G