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Day of Silence: One Story to the Next

Julia Barshak and Kristen Nash

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This week on April 14th, Nashoba’s very own GSA club hosts the annual day of silence. On this day, students can elect to forfeit their voice from first bell to dismissal. This day long sacrifice is in support of the LGBTQIA community, in an attempt to understand and empathize with our peers who may have felt they cannot speak up and be their true selves.

A wide variety of people support this cause including teachers, participants, and supporters. “Typically I have about 35% participate, so that would be about 35 kids,” says Mrs. d’Entremont. When asked about The Day of Silence’s importance, she goes on to explain “it really is not a big interference [to class] and it is a powerful way to illustrate how many people felt that they had to be silent and not live their lives as their true selves…. no one should have to hide who they are! I have several friends and family members who felt for many years that they could be openly ‘out’. I think things are changing for the better, at least here in Massachusetts!”

People participate in the day of silence for different reasons, some for others and some for themselves. Four year long participant Kayla Lawlor reveals her reasoning.“I am participating in the Day of Silence because I think it’s important to recognize the struggles of those who cannot always speak for themselves. The LGBTQIA community makes up a substantial percentage of the world population and I think it’s important for people to know they’re not alone. I’ve experienced bullying first-hand; luckily, I can handle some rude comments, but there are people who can’t and there are people in the world, and even in this country, who are killed for being who they are.”

Kayla was kind enough to share her story.  “I came out as bisexual my sophomore year of high school. My whole life I always felt different and once I figured out I was bi in seventh grade, I hated myself. I was terrified that my friends would see me differently and I was scared about how my conservative family would react. I hid who I was for years. On Coming Out Day of my sophomore year at Nashoba, I finally decided to come out on Facebook. I wrote a very long post explaining to people what it means to be bisexual and why the LGBTQ individuals deserve to be treated just like everyone else. I received a lot of encouragement and support in response, but obviously there were some people who were mean. One person even decided it would be a good idea to text me and yell at me for coming out. He said very nasty comments to me and insulted who I was. To this day, people like him and his friends are very hurtful not only in real life, but on social media. And I still haven’t told my parents because I know they wouldn’t react well. I told my grandma and she told me I was too young and didn’t know what I wanted. She said I was confused. LGBTQ individuals are told their identities are a product of their society which is just false. I’m not confused and I refuse to let others tell me who I am.”

While not everyone has the capability of being completely silent for an entire school day, there are other ways to show one’s support for the LGBTQIA community. One of these options is to be a speaking supporter. “I’m really loud and I can’t go a minute without talking” says Dan Kilkenny, who plans to be a speaking supporter. When asked why he supports the Day of Silence, his answer was simple. “Because it’s common human decency to support others.” The speaking supporter option allows everyone to support each other without the commitment to silence.

If you would like to participate in the day of silence, April 13th is the last day. If you miss the chance you can always be a speaking supporter. You can also join Nashoba’s very own GSA. Meetings are held every Tuesday, and they do various activities in support of the LGBTQIA community. Today is your last chance, go sign up!

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