Tom Morgan, state leader of GetEqual Ohio spoke at the meeting on “how to put the act in activism.”
During his speech, Morgan mentioned the Defense of Marriage Act as a major reason he protests with the group. After the meeting, Morgan and other members of GetEqual Ohio helped PRIDE! members sign a petition for marriage equality legislation in 2013.
“We are paying the state to defend bigotry and hatred,” Morgan said. “It’s important for people to get out there and make a difference. If you take a stand for yourself, you’re taking a stand for all of us.”
Gwen Andrix is a transgendered woman and member of Freedom to Marry Ohio. She is now married to her partner because of an Ohio law forbidding her from changing her sex on her birth certificate.
During her speech at the meeting, Andrix said transgendered people are often forgotten in LGTBQ groups, although they identify with the same issues.
“As a transgendered woman, this is my issue also,” Andrix said. “We should all have the right to be the person we are and the person we love.”
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network [GLSEN] started the “Day of Silence” at The University of Virginia in 1996. For the event, students refrain from speaking for a whole day to represent the silence and struggles of the LGBTQ community.
Sara Yeager, freshman visual communication design major, said the day gives a variety of people the chance to understand LGBTQ issues.
“I think everyone deserves the freedom to be out,” Yeager said. “Closeted people are made to be someone else, and they don’t get to speak out about their beliefs and who they are, and this event gives people a chance to understand those feelings.”
Greg Porter, PRIDE! vice president and senior visual communication design major, said that he has experienced opposition to the event while participating in the past.
“When I went to the University of Toledo I worked at a coffee shop, and I was scheduled to work on the day of silence even though I had requested not to,” Porter said. “I almost got fired for participating.”
Kara Bindus, Pride! programming director and senior English major, said most of her classmates notice her participation.
“It makes a huge impact when outspoken individuals like myself are silent during class,” Bindus said. “Suddenly there’s just a day where I don’t say anything and people definitely notice.”
Focus on the Family, a global Christian ministry group participates in “Day of Dialogue,” near the day as the “Day of Silence” each year. During the day, members of Focus on the Family speak out about Christianity in opposition to GLSEN.
Bindus said she believed the “Day of Dialogue is senseless and disrespectful.
“It’s disrespectful because “Day of Silence” is not necessarily about activism,” Bindus said. “This is about respecting people who have been oppressed. We’re not talking and we’re not listening to them.”
Contact Drew Parker at [email protected]