News Seattle , Education

Day of Silence 2023: The Symbolism of Silence

Apr 14, 2023 | Seattle Pride

Day of Silence 2023: The Symbolism of Silence

Day of Silence is celebrated every year in April, and this year, Day of Silence falls on Friday, April 14. According to GLSEN, the official organizational sponsor of Day of Silence, 82% of LGBTQIA+ students experience first-hand harassment or bullying in their school, and more than 30% of LGBTQIA+ students reported missing school because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Day of Silence is an effort to limit students who experience that harassment or lack of attendance moving forward.

What is Day of Silence?

It’s a student-led project that signifies being silenced—a phenomenon members of the queer community are far too familiar with. LGBTQIA+ students, along with ally students against LGBTQIA+ bullying who want to both recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment faced by their queer classmates, take a vow of silence for the school day. Students who participate can hand out speaking cards that explain the reason for their silence.

How Did Day of Silence Come to Be?

The First Day of Silence was in 1996, organized by students at the University of Virginia who initially created it for a class project on nonviolent protest. The day went national two years later when almost 100 campuses and colleges took part, and participation in Day of Silence has spread far and wide since.

What Does It Mean to Break the Silence?

After taking a vow of silence, participants can break the silence with a virtual rally, assembly or gathering as a display of commitment to elevating LGBTQIA+ voices in schools for safer, more inclusive spaces for queer folks. Something as small as a discussion about Day of Silence experiences and what the day signifies with friends and family is also an effective way to break the silence.

What Can I do for Day of Silence?

If you’re a student or an educator, you can register for Day of Silence here. If you aren’t involved in education, encourage the students and educators in your life to participate in Day of Silence in some capacity. You can also donate to GLSEN for future Days of Silence here.

Day of Silence helps ensure that one day the experiences of LGBTQIA+ will no longer be erased. Supporting Day of Silence in any way helps to get step closer to more queer-inclusive spaces.