Today, Friday, April 20, Trinity’s Sexual Diversity Alliance is putting on an event to coincide with the National Day of Silence for an End to Anti-LGBT Bullying. SDA participates in the National Day of Silence every year.
Each year since 2010, SDA members display around campus plywood cutouts of people with the names and facesof LGBT people who have committed suicide because of bullying.
“We also put up posters with statistics from the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network studies that have been done regarding anti-LGBT bullying that goes on in high schools and middle schools around the country,” said junior John-Dean Domingue, the president-elect of SDA.
“Another thing we do is that we give out cookies wrapped in saran wrap that have statistics on them””which is kind of morbid but we want to be serious without being sad, and educational without being too intense. Our ultimate goal is to increase education and awareness,” Domingue said.
Bullying is a nationwide issue, and more specifically, anti-LGBT bullying is a still an ongoing problem: according to a recent GLSEN study, 90 percent of LGBT students were assaulted or harassed over the year-long study in 2008 compared with 62 percent of non-LGBT teens. About two-thirds of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation as recently as 2009.
“It just says so much that we have to update the stories and images on the plywood cutouts every year””there are always many more stories than there are plywood cutouts. At the start of this month, there was a sixteen year-old boy in Flour Bluff, which is near Corpus Christi who we had to add. That death, because it’s really recent and so geographically close to where I grew up, really hit close to home for me,” Domingue said.
“This year SDA’s participation in the National Day of Silence is to educate members of the Trinity community that bullying and harassment due to sexual orientation are not only global or national issues. Bullying and harassment happen on Trinity’s campus as well. SDA encourages members of our community to be more aware of the impact that their words and actions can have on their peers,” said sophomore Lyndi-Paige Pyle, who was recently elected to serve as SDA’s new social activism coordinator.
Members of the Trinity community are invited to gather silently at the Magic Stones from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Friday. There will be a silent lunch at some point during the event as well. If students cannot make it out to the Stones, they are encouraged to take a vow of silence for the day to spread the message of the national event.
“Students can take the silent message into the classrooms. If you come by, we can give you a stack of speaking cards that students can give to their professors to explain why you aren’t speaking,” Domingue said.
“We are silent on the day of silence to call attention to the people who are forced to be silent because of anti-LGBT bullying. If people feel threatened, they stay silent simply to stay under the radar. We’re silent to people’s faces so that there is increased awareness of the silence that they might not see every day. Those who take the vow of silence stand with and support those who are forced to be silent,” Domingue said.