Community participates in GLSEN Day of Silence


Will Sherwood/Chronicle

Students participating in the GLSEN Day of Silence were encouraged to remain silent unless their teachers addressed the day in class.

Leo Saperstein

Students and faculty observed the the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Day of Silence on April 22. Throughout the day, participating community members chose to be silent in protest of LGBTQ discrimination in schools.

An email sent to the school encouraged students that were participating to remain silent unless their teachers addressed the Day of Silence in class. Gender and Sexuality Awareness (GSA) Club President Kieran Chung said they have tried to change the school’s approach to the Day of Silence to increase awareness and participation.

“In past years, some students at [the school] have done the vow of silence challenge, but it has not gotten much attention,” Chung said. “I hope that, by giving an option for teachers to address the Day of Silence in class this year, we can make people who normally would not think about their LGBTQ peers think about the issues they face.”

Before school started, Chung passed out rainbow stickers at the Security Kiosk, which some students wore on their clothes the rest of the day. Chung said they ultimately aim to encourage the school to prioritize LBGTQ issues.

“I hope we can inspire empathy and show people that these are important things to talk about,” Chung said. “There are so many anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bills going around right now that seem distant here in California but are actually really scary, not only to people in those states but to people here in the LGBTQ community.

Science Teacher Nathan Cardin, the faculty sponsor for the GSA club, said members planned to use the Day of Silence to raise awareness about LGBTQ-related issues. He said the club distributed stickers to compensate for participants’ silence.

“The GSA handed out lots of stickers, which helped give a visual aspect to a day otherwise focused on silence, and realizing whose voices we are not hearing” Cardin said.

After recent legislation has been in the news, such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Cardin said this year’s Day of Silence is especially pertinent.

“So many states and cities across our country are enacting harsh, draconian laws aimed at suppressing, outlawing and literally silencing LGBTQ folks,” Cardin said. “[The] Day of Silence is an important reminder of how many amazing people in our community would be terribly missed, and their voices quite lacking, if they were not with us and able to be their true selves.”

Some, however, questioned what the day would accomplish. Casey Weisman ’22, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, said he forgot about the Day of Silence and did not think participating would have a significant effect.

“Once I realized [the Day of Silence] was happening, I felt like it was not really of any use,” Weisman said. “I really like to talk, and my silence is not really going to end homophobia. I am not a brick and [the school] is not a stonewall.”