The Silent Fight


Have you ever had a friend ignore you no matter what they did? Maybe they just didn’t speak. Was it something you said? What happened to them? Well rest assured that it isn’t your fault. Once a year, on April 12, the LGBTQ community and supporters go silent for a day to spread awareness of discrimination.

Now some may wonder why they do something like that? Why not be loud and show everyone who you are? Mrs. Jennifer Oehler says “Some students who identify as LGBTQ, or are minorities, or people who live with disabilities feel as though they don’t have a voice, and can’t express themselves freely, and they are being judged. So I think that by being silent and by teaching silently I hope that i’m raising awareness about how important individual voices are.”

Some members participating felt they needed more to get the point across. Emilio Fernandez and Mara Smith had a run in were something like that happened. In their theater class they ran into two homophobes who had spent the class trying to get them and all others joining in the silence to talk, making it difficult for them to work and annoying them throughout the class. Fernandez says “If they are more accepting its better, then it shows them how much it means to people.” but to Smith “it’s proving a point and saying something without saying something.”

Both agree that it would be more helpful if more people joined. “If the announcements were made about it and more people knew I think it would be a lot better” Smith stated.

Of course joining doesn’t mean that you can’t try communicating with friends. There’s a variety of ways to do so. As a teacher it’s a tough choice to go silent for a whole day. “Back in 2009 when we had the first day of silence, I actually didn’t even think about teaching silently. I was the co-adviser for the GSA and an adult in the community was talking to me about my plans and she asked if i’d be teaching silently. I thought ‘why not?’ I’m supporting the students and I said to myself there’s no way I can talk. I can’t expect to support kids who aren’t talking when i’m working with them,” Oehler stated. Oehler uses tactics like flipping on and off the lights and handing out the lesson plans and highlighting what she wants them to do.

“I was very pleased with my first period class today, who stepped right in and they knew what I was doing and one student spoke up like Mrs. Oehler you want me to take over the instructions today? and she did, and the kids listened,” Oehler said.

Even future freshmen are willing to help the cause. One of which wished to remain anonymous while still speaking her voice. She said “when the day rolls around next year Ill definitely participate and spread the word around school.”

She grew up in a christian household, where a lot of her family was against anything LGBTQ. However, she still believes that  “this is earth, this is america, and this isn’t judgement day. That happens when your long gone from this world and only god can judge us, so I figure why should I? Its their choice, their happy.” She has a friend in one of her classes who is mute, communicating using a whiteboard and marker, and she plans to follow that example when the time comes.

The day of silence is a day for all LGBTQ members and supporters to raise awareness about their cause and fight for what they believe without forcing anyone to listen.