No, it’s not because I hate you. No, I’m not angry at you. And no, this isn’t me giving the world a good old-fashioned f— you either. It’s about silence.
Today is the National Day of Silence. So, if you see me or anyone else on campus and we don’t say anything, don’t be surprised.
I would tell you not to be offended if I don’t speak to you, but I want you to be. I want you to think about how it feels when someone treats you differently. I want you to remember how it feels to be treated badly. Imagine how you would feel if you were treated badly because of who you are attracted to, who you love, or what your gender is. National Day of Silence is a day protesting the discrimination and hate gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender folk face every day.
As a bisexual woman, I feel discrimination when friends or strangers use the word “gay” as though it means “bad” or “stupid.” I feel discrimination when my girlfriend doesn’t touch me in public because she’s afraid of being verbally or physically assaulted, and when someone asks if they can watch us have sex because we’re lesbians. I feel discrimination when my family congratulates me on having a boyfriend, but says nothing when I tell them I have a girlfriend.
Sometimes, discrimination is easy to see and explain, but there are also times when discrimination is subtler, leaving me with a feeling of inferiority and confusion. These are only a few ways I feel discrimination. Each member of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities may have different concerns, ranging from what to call the person they are dating – lover, significant other, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend – to fearing for their lives because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Today queers and allies on this campus will speak out against this discrimination by not speaking at all. Join us by not speaking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you cannot be silent all day, show your support by wearing red and telling people why others are silent. Please join us for a silent lunch on the Women’s Center lawn at noon. You can also join us in Storke Plaza at 4:45 p.m. to break the silence; feel free to bring pots, pans, and any other noise makers you want.
Vanessa Prell is a senior interdisciplinary studies major.