Last year, our school had a phenomenal response to the first time we ever took part in the Day of Silence. Over a third of the school took part, but most importantly we participated in a symbolic day to end homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Taking a vow of silence is an effort to show the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on queer and trans* students and those perceived to be queer or trans*.
Homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying takes place when someone is targeted because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or that of someone within their family or friend group. As with all types of bullying, it can involve name-calling, derogatory comments, spreading of rumours, isolation, and even abuse. Phrases like “that’s so gay”, all-too-often dropped into casual conversation, can also be seen as bullying, because they can be a slur against members of the gay, trans, or bisexual communities. Often it is just the joke comments that can hurt the most.
The Day of Silence is a human rights campaign that you can all can get involved in! One way of participating is by putting tape across your face to show your support for the cause or you can wear a Day of Silence sticker, or hold on to a day of silence card. Tape, stickers and cards will all be available from the Dean’s Room on the day. The other simple way of participating is writing Day of Silence on your hand, and showing it to anyone that speaks to you. However, taking part won’t compromise your school work, you can still speak in class if you need to.
We are one of many schools that is recognising the Day of Silence. The real test though is not the day itself, it’s what we do after Friday – how do we break the silence? How do we put an end to homophobic, biphobic, transphobic bullying and make this a safe society for everybody? It might be that the new QSA might help with this, so I would encourage you to come along.
Homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying is not ok. However, it is ok to be who you are and to be proud of that. It is also right to be accepting of others and everything that makes each of us unique. Celebrate the diversity of our school, our society and stand up for accepting one another for who we are.