2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

LGBT students at several area high schools to observe Friday’s ‘Day of Silence’ event

Published: April 10, 2014, 4:13 pm, by Debbie Kelley

Students from Rampart, Pine Creek, Coronado, Palmer, Doherty, Sand Creek and Sierra High schools will be among the hundreds of thousands nationwide to raise awareness Friday about the pervasiveness of name-calling, bullying and harassment of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender students.

The annual event is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and calls on students to observe a day of silence — during non-instructional time or throughout the day. Their silence will illustrate “the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias and behavior,” according to a statement from the organization.

Last year, students from 8,000 high schools, middle schools and colleges participated.

Students often wear shirts, stickers or buttons and hand out speaking cards to explain why they are remaining silent. The card reads:

“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment.

“I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.”

According to the organization’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, more than eight out of 10 LGBT students, or 82 percent, are harassed at school each year because of their sexual orientation and 64 percent because of their gender expression.