A day of silence

Students at Portland State and across the country observed the eighth annual “Day of Silence” yesterday to protest discrimination and abuse against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual.

Several wore armbands or T-shirts announcing their day-long vow of silence to mark the occasion.

“Whether it’s the lack of LGBT-inclusive material in educational resources or role assignments based upon our assumed gender, such silence and silencing affects us all in a profound way,” a statement on the official Day of Silence Web site, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), explained.

“The Day of Silence institutes a visible silence, a silence during which participants protest anti-LGBT discrimination and abuse. Such an effort also allows us to reflect upon how powerful silencing can be, to focus on how we can make our own voices stronger and to begin to stop silencing ourselves.”

Day of Silence began at the University of Virginia in 1996, when a group of about 150 students organized a silent protest there. It has since grown in to a nationwide event, with organizing efforts in over 1,900 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 2002.

The Day of Silence also coincides with PSU’s own “Queer Awareness Week,” which has featured several events geared toward promoting consciousness of queer issues.