Day of Silence – Letter From a Friend

This sweet note was in my flurry of email this morning, from another lesbian mommy:

Hi friends,

This is something on a personal note that I wanted to share. Today will mark a national youth movement in the LGBT community as a Day of Silence. The idea is to raise awareness about the silence that members of this community have had to face in order to avoid anti-LGBT bullying, name calling, and harassment – and too often leading to death through suicide or murder.

My 12-year-old daughter, Kirsten, found out about this, and – yes, all on her own – decided that she was going to participate. She is doing this at her middle school in Sonoma, California. Today she wore a white T-shirt to school on which she had written, in big bold letters across the front, “BREAK THE SILENCE,” and across the back, “WHAT WILL YOU DO?”  She had also prepared a flyer to explain to people, if they ask, why she is not speaking today.

Yesterday, she approached the principal of her school and asked if she can express the constitutional right of freedom of speech in her classes today by not talking. She was told “no”.

So, she is hoping that when she approaches her teachers with her written information at the beginning of class, that they will understand and not expect her to talk. I am hoping that I don’t get a phone call today saying that she is in the principal’s office for being insubordinate to her teachers.

Kirsten had attempted to get support from other students to do this with her, and although many of her friends thought it sounded like a “cool” idea, when it came down to it, they were just a little too afraid to do it too. However, she was able to get one other student to commit to this project. So, a good friend, with whom she grew up, will be doing the same.

I am very proud of her for standing up for what she believes in – even though it may prove to be quite a pivotal moment for her, in the delicate social balance of a middle school environment. I fervently hope that this does what she hopes it will do, and does not end up creating the very thing she is protesting – harassment, name calling, and bullying towards her.

When we talked about that possibility, her response was, “It’s worse not to do anything, because that’s what they want you to do”.

(Yay, brave Kirsten! The world needs more kids like you!)

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