POZlife

POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

Gay Students Observe National Day Of Silence

Posted by pozlife on April 18, 2007

 


by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: April 18, 2007 – 8:00 am ET 

(Washington) Schools across the country will be a little quieter today as tens of thousands of LGBT students and their allies observe the 11th annual National Day of Silence to draw awareness to homophobia in classrooms.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the United States Student Association distributed stickers and pass out ‘speaking cards’ to GSAs throughout America.

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools,” they read.

“My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?” 

Last year some 4,000 schools and colleges participated in the Day of Silence.

But increasingly the even is being threatened and countered by religious conservatives. 

Conservative activist Linda Harvey has called on parents to take their children out of school today. 

“Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science — without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities,” Harvey said on a Web site she opened to call for the boycott.

“Students shouldn’t be forced to self-censor or adopt beliefs contrary to those of their parents and places of worship,” Linda Harvey said on NotOurKids.com.

Christian groups also are organizing “The Day of Truth” as a response to the Day of Silence, and school districts which bar counter demonstration are being threatened with lawsuits.

A federal court judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of high school administrators at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, near Chicago, who told students on the Day of Silence last year they could not wear T-shirts saying “Be Happy, Not Gay.”

The conservative Alliance Defense Fund had sought an injunction barring the school from blocking the anti-gay T-shirts this year. The court ruled the right to set apparel standards.

The ruling does not prevent a first amendment suit on behalf of the students from proceeding. 

Earlier this month a high school in Danbury, Connecticut rescinded its ban on an ex-gay preacher after the ADF threatened to take the school district to court.

In Allendale, New Jersey a student is suing his high school alleging it violated his civil rights when it told him he could not organize a “Day of Truth”. 

A study released by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to coincide with last year’s National Day of Silence, showed that homophobia is widespread in the nation’s schools.

Nearly one-in-five students reported they had been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth  because of their gender expression.

Three-quarters of students surveyed said that over the past year they heard derogatory remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school, and nearly nine out of ten  reported hearing “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” – meaning stupid or worthless – frequently or often.

Over a third of students said they experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation and more than a quarter on the basis of their gender expression. 

The study also showed that bullying has had a negative impact on learning.

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