Today is the Day of Silence, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this day for several reasons.
First, to those of you participating, I want to applaud you. What you are doing is a difficult thing for a lot of people, and from my experiences participating, it is not an easy thing to not speak at all.
Second, to those of you not participating, I want to reassure you. You are in no way an inferior member of/ally to the LGBTQ+ community if you are not participating in the Day of Silence. I am not participating either, but I am still an active member in the community and will still be an advocate for our rights and what we stand for.
So why am I not participating?
I don’t see how it’s helping us. We, as a group, have been persistently marginalized. Every day our very existence challenges so many norms, cisnormativity and heteronormativity among them. And while we have without a doubt come a long way, there are still issues, and we see them every day. Take what happened recently to Elliot. This kind of thing happens to our community on a daily basis.
I participated in the Day of Silence a few times throughout middle and high school. And at that point, to me, I was helping take a stand for those who felt they did not have a voice. But now, I don’t think this is the best way to take a stand. I don’t think being silent is going to get anything done for us. We weren’t silent when Elliot was bullied. We weren’t silent when Leelah or Zander or Ashton or any of the other countless trans youth were lost to the hands of the bullying and the pressure society puts on us. So why be silent now?
I do not want to give anyone the wrong idea here. Silence is definitely a form of communication, and there is certainly benefit to it in the right moments. I just no longer see the benefit of it in this moment. If we want to make a statement about our rights, why is being silent about it the best way for us to do this right now?
Growing up, I was the quiet kid. I barely talked in school. When I was with my friends, I usually was not loud enough to get a word in. I kept quiet and I kept to myself. But a lot has changed over the past year or so, and I find that I am actually sick of being silent. I’ve been owning my voice, and it has made such a difference. So no, today I won’t be silent. I’ve done my time being silent, and now I’m here to be loud and be proud. To me, we’ve been silent for longer than we think, and I think it’s high time we have a voice. Coming from the quiet kid I once was, and very well probably still am in certain settings, it’s time we speak up.
If you have anything to add, want to ask a question, want to further discuss this, or even want to debate about it, feel free to either leave a comment, find Beneath The Identity on Twitter, or contact me directly.