LGBTQ+ and Allies Honor Day of Silence


The Day of Silence returned on Friday Apr. 22, with LGBTQ+ students and allies taking the oath of silence to standby those who have been silenced.

The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ+ students and allies take a vow to be silent all day to “protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools,” according to GLSEN. At the end of the day, students gather for Breaking the Silence rallies, sharing their experiences and reflections.

This year, on Apr. 22, Williston students took the oath to be silent, and broke the silence at the lion with a collective yell.

The GLESN Day of Silence was started in the mid-90s by two college students, and has expanded throughout the nation ever since.

Liz Gluz, a junior from Syracuse, N.Y., and a GSA club member, took the oath to be silent all day. Liz was very excited for her first time participating in the day with the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

“I was really excited because this is one of the first events I’ve participated in while also knowing who I am,” Liz said, “I was excited for this great opportunity to educate our community and come together, LGBTQ+ people and allies alike.”

Even if it was Liz’s first time participating in the Day of Silence, she still felt “a connection to it.” Liz wanted to protest with her silence.

“Silence is really powerful and even though it used to be forced onto people, on this day it strengthens us,” Liz said. “No one should have to hide themselves. I want to do my part to protest bullying and remind people that they are not alone.”

Liz felt that keeping silence during the day made her experience how voices can be taken from the community. “Honestly, every time I thought about something I wanted to say but couldn’t,” Liz said, “I felt isolated from everyone else since I couldn’t join them.”

Liz said that she could not imagine going through that for the long term. “I can’t imagine feeling like that every day,” she said. “I’m a talkative person and I like to connect with people, so taking that away was hard.”

However, Liz also thought that participating in the Day of Silence with others in the GSA was an experience of connection, mutual support, and power.

“At the same time, I also felt closer to every other person who was silent with me,” Liz said. “We were standing together in this subtle and muted way, yet we were still sending a loud message that we will not stand for bullying or harassment of any kind. That was really empowering to me.”

Liz made posters and volunteered to sit at the lunch table to spread the word about the Day of Silence. She hoped that by doing so, “others can be aware of what’s happening to LGBTQ+ folks and stand with [them].”

“There are people out there who are harassed simply for being who they are,” Liz said, “and I want them to feel seen and let them know they are not alone, and we will not allow this to continue.”

Allison Tucker, science teacher and the advisor of GSA, helped put together the event. It was actually Tucker’s first time fully participating in this day at a school.

“In college, my school recognized the day but we didn’t really take the oath,” Tucker said, “and it wasn’t until at Williston that we could do that, which felt powerful.”

Tucker, having to teach couldn’t take the oath herself, but some of her middle school students did.

“They told me afterwards that it was certainly a successful day,” Tucker said. “Although it was hard sometimes to communicate things, it was definitely helpful that the teachers knew beforehand.”

Tucker initiated the event because of the passion among the students in GSA.

“I wanted to do it because it meant so much to GSA,” Tucker said. “The members brought it up a couple times, and it would also be the first big thing we do back in person.” Williston has had the tradition of participating in the Day of Silence for several years.

Tucker said that participating in school activities with approachable goals is a way to empower students.

“I would like to convey to the community members that you can take parts in movements that feel important to you,” she said, “even if you feel that you don’t have a lot of say or power, it can be meaningful.”

In the future, Tucker looks to hold more regular, monthly events, maybe ones celebrating smaller communities within the larger LGBTQ+ community. Tucker also wishes to build the GSA community in general, and she hopes that as the club grows, it can become more like a family.

Amanda Yee, a ninth-grader from Hong Kong, was one of the organizers of the Day of Silence. First time learning about and participating in this day, Amanda wanted to “bring awareness to the harmful and silencing effects of bullying and harassment of LGBTQIA students, and show my support for the LGBTQIA community.”

Amanda stayed silent the entire school day, which was challenging, and prompted her to find other ways of communication.

“I could only communicate through hand gestures or writing notes,” Amanda said, “which wasn’t the most efficient way of doing group work with my classmates.”

It was an interesting experience keeping silent in class.

“Some people tried to start conversations with me and I would sometimes want to reply verbally but remember that I couldn’t talk. When I replied with hand gestures or nods,” Amanda said, “they would say ‘Oh, you’re participating in the Day of Silence, I forgot sorry.'”

It was also fun to try to talk to friend, which also drew other’s attention. ”

Communicating with friends who weren’t participating in the Day of Silence was also an amusing experience,” Amanda said, “because my side of the conversation would be typed out and then they would reply verbally, which was funny for people around us to watch.”

The Day of Silence fell on the same day as Grandparents’ Day, which made Amanda “a bit nervous.” “I’m not sure if the grandparents were notified about the Day of Silence,” Amanda said, “but many of them gazed at me wondering why I had pride stickers all over my shirt.”

At the end of the day, Amanda joined other participants at the lion to break the silence in remembrance of the initiative of the day. Amanda believed in their scream’s shattering effect on the Williston community.

“It felt really powerful to “break the silence” with a scream after not speaking all day,” she said, “and I hope it also showed the Williston community the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQIA behavior.”