Day of Silence: Quiet makes noise

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Day of Silence: Quiet makes noise

Junior Miriam Tibbetts poses for the National Day of Silence on Apr. 17 with a finger over her mouth. This action symbolizes the quiet that is used to make a bigger sound. The face paint shows support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s important to use Day of Silence to pay tribute to those who have been silenced, to help show people they aren’t alone in feeling silenced, and encourage change to help people regain their voices,” senior GSA Co-President Maggie Clark said.

Junior Miriam Tibbetts poses for the National Day of Silence on Apr. 17 with a finger over her mouth. This action symbolizes the quiet that is used to make a bigger sound. The face paint shows support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s important to use Day of Silence to pay tribute to those who have been silenced, to help show people they aren’t alone in feeling silenced, and encourage change to help people regain their voices,” senior GSA Co-President Maggie Clark said.

Meghan Joyce

Junior Miriam Tibbetts poses for the National Day of Silence on Apr. 17 with a finger over her mouth. This action symbolizes the quiet that is used to make a bigger sound. The face paint shows support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s important to use Day of Silence to pay tribute to those who have been silenced, to help show people they aren’t alone in feeling silenced, and encourage change to help people regain their voices,” senior GSA Co-President Maggie Clark said.

Meghan Joyce

Meghan Joyce

Junior Miriam Tibbetts poses for the National Day of Silence on Apr. 17 with a finger over her mouth. This action symbolizes the quiet that is used to make a bigger sound. The face paint shows support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s important to use Day of Silence to pay tribute to those who have been silenced, to help show people they aren’t alone in feeling silenced, and encourage change to help people regain their voices,” senior GSA Co-President Maggie Clark said.

Meghan Joyce, Chief Visual Editor

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The National Day of Silence is about using silence to make noise.

On Apr. 17, students all around the country elected not to speak for the day in order to draw attention to the silencing effect bullying has on LGBTQ+ members of the community.

It may seem almost counterintuitive to try to raise awareness soundlessly, but it is only the first step.

“It demonstrates a feeling and draws attention, but if we left it there without discussion or ‘noise,’ it wouldn’t be as powerful. The silence should be used as a conversation starter,” Gender and Sexuality Acceptance Club Co-President Maggie Clark said.

GSA adviser Eric Severson agreed. “I love the idea that silence draws attention as opposed to noise. There’s a sort of poetic beauty to the idea of the day, that you remove the sound to draw attention to something rather than making a bigger sound,” he said.

In a 2011 study, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network concluded that 82% of LGBTQ youth had problems with bullying due to their sexual orientation in the past year.

About half reported feeling unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I love the idea that silence draws attention as opposed to noise.”

— GSA Advisor Eric Severson.

It isn’t only bullying and harassment that puts LGBTQ+ youth at risk. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, almost one in three people who identify as LGBTQ+ will attempt suicide in their lives, a much higher rate than average.

For this reason, GSA handed out purple ribbons and pins for World Suicide Prevention Day.

GSA also made announcements in the Blue Sheet requesting participation in the National Day of Silence or in wearing purple in support and asked for a moment of school wide silence in the Friday assembly.

“It’s important to use Day of Silence to pay tribute to those who have been silenced, to help show people they aren’t alone in feeling silenced, and encourage change to help people regain their voices,” Clark said.

Sophomore Soph Lundberg, who participated in the Day of Silence, agreed. “It gives the movement some exposure, when people are silent, people notice… particularly if you’re a loud person,” she said.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School is home to GSA in addition to after school affinity groups such as Alphabet Soup and Her Space. Not every school has so many outlets for LGBTQ+ students to have open discussions, for their allies to find ways to help, or for those who identify as women to come together.

“Could we do more? Yes, in every aspect of the way,” Severson said. “But I do think this is a very safe space for the adults and the students in the community. It permeates into the classroom, into the hallways, I think there are great resources here for people that need them and want to access them.”

The National Day of Silence has come and gone, but these issues remain.
There are things that anyone can do to continue the work towards acceptance at SPA and in the world, even the smallest of steps helps.

Students can mention issues that they notice on the Opinion Board, in class, in speeches, in conversations with friends.

“It’s hard to keep bullying and harassment at the front of your mind if you’re not facing them daily. But I want people to consider the role they play,” Clark said.

Lundberg said that it was difficult to stay silent. “I think that’s part of the experience, accidentally talking. You realize how hard it is to stay quiet,” she said.

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