Breaking the Silence: Student Reflections on Day of Silence

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Following Asociación Escuelas Lincoln’s “Day of Silence” hosted by the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance on Friday, April 15, 2016, students reflected on their experience.

Malena Galuccio, 11 (@GaluccioMalena)

As a reflection for my experience of participating the ‘Day of Silence’ I decided to create a piece of artwork that to me represented the contrast between beauty of the freedom of expression and the darkness of oppression.

As seen on the artwork, the two silhouettes are undefined as male or female, representing the freedom of one to think about this drawing as any possible combination of a relationship. Furthermore, the fact that the profiles are depicted in black represents the idea that they are suppressed due to maybe being seen as a gay or lesbian relationship; the idea that due to their sexual orientation they must be in some form ‘locked down’.

Lastly, the pink background signifies the idea that if there was a complete freedom to express one’s sexuality without being put at risk of danger or judgment, the world would be a kind and warm place, just like the colour pink.

Personally, a relationship is nothing more than the pure intimacy between people, no matter the kind of relationship, or the genders within the relationship, through the expression of the profiles in the drawing I was hoping to portray an intimate moment in which no words are said but instead feelings are conveyed.

My personal experience of the Day of Silence was controversial; I started the day by just observing the scenery of being in the lobby and hearing about half the noise I usually do, and it wasn’t until I got home that I processed this experience. Throughout the whole day I felt frustrated as I was not able to talk, and I felt as if I simply could not express myself, and sometimes through the use of simple hand gestures I could tell no one was understanding what I really meant. Once getting home and reflecting upon the day I realized that I completely felt what the day was supposed to accomplish; I felt silenced and closed off. This is exactly what people all around the world are feeling today and have been feeling for decades, the feeling of being oppressed and having no right nor freedom to express themselves, in this case in relation to gender orientation.

Isabella Kontorovsky, 8

I am certainly for this movement of bettering the treatment of people who are LGBT. It is completely unacceptable for them to be treated any differently than those who identify as cis or straight. My best friend is gay and he has a trans brother, and I can’t find a single reason for me to treat them as lesser than me. When he came out to me, nothing in our relationship had changed, it just made it a bit more convenient since we could watch young Leonardo DiCaprio movies and both enjoy young Leo. I am exposed to lots of mistreatment of the LGBT community on the internet. People use gay as an insult, when in reality, there is not a single thing wrong with identifying as homosexual.

I really respect you for participating in this movement, and I wish I could have known about it sooner; if that were the case, I would have most likely participated too.

Lauren Ford, 10

Lincoln!!!

I’m so proud of all of you! Thank you all so much for participating. It really is the thought that counts. The silencing faced by the LGBT community is a serious issue that unfortunately still takes place today. By taking the pledge, you helped call out the discrimination and bullying. Nice.

Over 50 students and staff signed the pledge, and honestly I was just so impressed and happy. You guys are great. I know it definitely wasn’t easy to be silent for a whole day, but any kind of participation, no matter how small, counts. For me, Day of Silence was challenging, but eye-opening, and even a little fun (?). I loved all the creative ways that people were coming up with for communication, like whiteboards, sticky notes, and even getting Google Translate to say everything for us. Personally, I feel like these methods of communication were pretty insightful. Being silent for a whole school day forced me to realize that I actually have a lot to say. But when I’m being silenced, it’s harder to get people to listen. Think about that. Seriously. Because that’s exactly what many LGBT students face every day.

So I learned like halfway through that putting duct tape on your face is actually pretty dangerous (lol oops), so kudos to you guys who tanked through it to make a statement! Whether or not you used tape, I hope all of you guys remember Lincoln’s Day of Silence, and continue to be advocates for LGBT rights. Thanks again guys, and don’t forget to come to GSA at lunch on Tuesdays in Mr. Rivera’s room, room 406. wink emoticon

“No one should be judge[d] by the way the[y] look, their beliefs OR their sexual orientation. Everyone can do what they desire in life and they should do what makes them happy. People shouldn’t keep silent just to be accepted in society” 
- Maria, Grade 8

Edward Jones, 6

I think it’s good what you’re doing. I think what you are doing is very good for raising awareness of these people because people will ask you why you are doing it and then you can explain with the document and that will make people that bully realise how you feel and stop doing it. So then people won’t be bullied.

Alegra Solari,

For me, Day of Silence was a very big mix of emotions. At the beginning of the day, in the lobby, it was incredibly heartwarming to see the amount of people who pledged to do this and openly showed their support for the LGBTQ community. Their silence was very noticeable and I think it really sent a message which people couldn’t ignore. Since I’ve come to Lincoln, my experience has been nothing but positive because the school has an aura of acceptance and love that makes me feel so comfortable being myself.

Not being able to speak for an entire was extremely difficult. Not going to lie, I may have slipped up a few times without even noticing, but this shows us how valuable our voice. Having to actively suppress my voice made me understand a small portion of what people feel when they aren’t free to speak up about sexuality.

I think the Day of Silence was a huge success on a personal level and a school wide level. I’m so happy to be part of such a loving place.

Renata Calderale, 8

I admire the actions that your group takes too be able to prevent bullying happening too Lesbians, Gay, Bisxual and Transgender. I think that his move is really good and I support it. It is very important to treat everyone in an equal matter and value and respect the identity that one has.

People who are Lesbians, Gay, Bisxual and Transgender, usually go through a lot of discrimination and hard times in their life, like having relationships and larger issues like bullying. A couple of years ago I heard about a girl who had transition from a boy too a girl at a very young age. She said that it was easy for her to transition because she has supportive parents and didn’t have to go through male puberty.

When I heard of this girl I really looked up to her. Even though she does have supportive parents and friends. When she was small she was forced to do something under the school law like using the male bathroom instead of the female bathroom. Also she couldn’t play in the girls soccer team. Now she says being a teenager isn’t easy either. Her friends have boyfriends and the boys at her school think that they would be gay if they dated her.

I am sure that struggles like these do appear for people like her. I don’t think that there is anything wrong about the people. I respect them and I look up to them cause, some and most are great images for the world.

Brianna Platt, 10 (@bri_platt)

For me, Day of Silence was challenging, yet, relaxing. The silence was refreshing, and the fact that that exact same silence was used to raise awareness for the LGBT+ community made me happy and proud of many in the Lincoln Community that were participating in it or supported it.

Some of the highlights of the day, for me, was when many students communicated via whiteboards, sticky notes, Google Translate, etc. to the teacher and to friends. The silence itself was the highlight of my day, because it presented a challenge to myself and the rest of the Lincoln Community in order to help and raise awareness for a cause bigger than ourselves. Being silent most of the day was a challenge in itself. I struggled many times in getting people to try to listen/communicate with me via sticky notes, whiteboards, etc.

I felt that these miscommunication, or lack of communication in general, really represented what many in the LGBT+ community face every day of their lives. They are silenced, and that silence makes it harder for others to truly hear them. I learned that even if some people disagree with on a topic you are trying to raise awareness for, you could always educate them on the topic and what it stands for, in hope that, in the future, that they can also support the topic (in our case, raising awareness for LGBT+ rights through silence). I hope that people become aware of the differences around them, and that they listen instead of silencing others. I would like to give many thanks for those who participated or supported the cause. If you need a safe space to chill/hangout/talk, GSA is Tuesdays at lunch in Mr. Rivera’s room (406).

Diego Meneses Ballesteros, 6 ( @DiegoMenesesB)

I agree with Day of Silence. It has moved me to also be silent. Now that I heard how people are being treated because they were born like that (gay,lesbian,bisexual…) it makes me mad. It’s not their fault that they were born like that. It makes me want to say to the bully: What if you were born that way! What If people treated you that way??!? It is very good for people to remind other people that is happens around the world and could be even happening in your school, and the people who are being silent are making a stand for them.

Gabriela Shimako, 12 (@GabiiShimako)

In my opinion, the Day of Silence was a huge success in Lincoln, and I am so proud of everybody who pledged and participated. Being silent for one day was very hard, we had to find other ways to communicate with teachers and friends, and sometimes, some of us even thought that we would not be able to finish the day without talking to someone. If it was hard for us to be silent for one day, I can only imagine how hard it must be for some people to have to be silent for days, months, years, and sometimes, their whole lives. Not being able to express their real selves, must be a horrible experience that no one should go through, and I am glad to be part of a movement that raise awareness to the situation of these people who feel like everyday is a day of silence.

Fiona Bonomi, 7

In our society, bullying is a major issue. We people, as members can change that. I think that this is a wonderful idea. It helps and supports people who need it. We shouldn’t be afraid of others, because we are all the same. No one is superior that the other, no one is smarter than the other, no one is better than the other. This idea of silence, in some way calls everyone’s attention, and could be a solution to our problem to stop bullying and harassment in schools. If we all contribute a little, maybe in some future there will be less bullying. I choose to help, and support those who have been harmed or attacked by others. To show my compromise, I will lend a hand to all the people who need it, and be silent in this day.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.