LGBT students, allies protest harassment in silence

Elise Franco

Starting at midnight last night until 5 p.m. today, members and allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will be quieter than usual.

Today is the National Day of Silence, and its purpose is to protest discrimination, harassment and violence against members of the LGBT community.

The event was founded in 1996 by a large group of students at the University of Virginia, according to

Throughout the day, students will hand out cards that read: “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. 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.”

Kevin Casimer, president of PRIDE!Kent, said participating in the Day of Silence is particularly important to him because he learned about it during high school, and it was one of the first times he took part in a LGBT activist event.

“The Day of Silence project is very special in that it draws attention to the pain that can be caused by those who are sympathetic to LGBT people, but fail to talk about LGBT issues,” he said.

Casimer said it illustrates the difference between tolerance and acceptance, and why tolerance alone is not enough.

In its 11th year, the Day of Silence takes place at thousands of high school and college campuses across the country. Fifty people have confirmed their participation on the Kent State Facebook event group for the Day of Silence.

Contact minority affairs reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].