Wednesday, April 18, 2007

National Day of Silence

Just for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about:

"The Day of Silence is an annual event held to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Students and teachers nationwide will observe the day in silence to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face everyday."

(According to

In practicality it is simply observed. Anyone who is LGBT or an ally is silent for the length of the school day to draw attention to the LGBT people who, for many reasons, including "bullying, harassment, and discrimination", remain silent. My university observed it yesterday, but I figured I'd observe it on the official day, heck the more attention brought to the issue the better.

My school day has ended, so now I may speak. I officially said that it ended at 4:00 this afternoon, ten minutes after the ending of my last class. It is weird that the first words to come out of my mouth today were to my roommate, telling her the door was unlocked.

Being silent for a day has taught me a lot. Normally I am a very talkative person around the people I know well, including talking to myself. Today I had to remember to keep my mouth shut.

Let me start with the most practical of things:

I don't think we quite realize how much we depend on verbal communication to get by in our world, especially in school. I hear the people talking all around me and all I can do is think to myself. Some simple communications could be answered with a yes or no, a nod or head-shaking. Others, such as group assignments were a little bit more difficult. In Biology today we had to do an extra-credit thing in groups and the girl who was in the group with me asked "Did you take a vow of silence?" and because, effectively, I had, I nodded. Anything I had to say during that time was either typed out on my calculator (thanks to the power of my TI-83 Plus graphing calculator) or on my laptop if it was longer than was practical to use the calculator for. She would read it off my computer screen to the guy in our group who was writing the extra credit out. It was actually awesome and quite inspiring.

What really amazed me is when I was eating lunch it felt like every time I bit or chewed that I was talking in a way, moving my jaw in the same way as one does when talking. I know that sounds odd, but it did.

I don't know if my actions/lack of words today has affected anyone in any other than a basic way, but if it has affected one person I know that my school day without verbal communication was
worth every second.

Take Back the Night is tomorrow, so you can expect to hear from me about that soon after, as I promised.

Tata for now.

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