Gay teenagers, hold your tongue
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Eight thousand schools in the US held a national "day of silence" on Friday. The unspoken message: stop the bullying of gay and lesbian pupils. One of the participants tells us why there's need for protest. Read more...
Posted on Flickr by "The current".
Eight thousand schools in the US held a national "day of silence" on Friday. The unspoken message: stop the bullying of gay and lesbian pupils.
The event, now in its fourteenth year, is organised by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Sick of being silenced by homophobic bullies, gay students and those supporting their freedom of expression held a united silence for a day.
This year's event gained extra attention after the death of 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover just days before. His family says he hanged himself because of taunts that he was gay.
In opposition to the Day of Silence
This video comes from the Illinois Family Institute , which describes itself as an organisation that upholds "marriage and family, life and liberty". It stoutly opposes the Day of Silence for the "vitriol and deception promulgated by some of its supporters" and for "undermining conservative beliefs about homosexuality".
'While the teachers (...) say we don't have a problem with bullying, this day proved that we do'
Arny Zabarain is a gay 17-year-old pupil from Lodi, New Jersey.
Our Day of Silence turned into a huge controversy. In my school there are a lot of homophobic people. While we remained silent, many boys, but also a lot of girls, shouted names like ‘queer' at us. To tell you the truth I couldn't hold my tongue. I used to, but now I can't help speaking out. I don't attack my attackers, I just tell them to accept who we are. I came out when I was 13 and I've been bullied for it ever since. Last year I was beaten up by six boys. I was just walking down the corridor, and they came out of the gym. They chased me and attacked me, at the same time shouting things like ‘you're a freak, you're a faggot'.
I think the Day of Silence was a good thing because while the teachers and administrators always say we don't have a problem with bullying, the reaction to what we did on this day proved that we do. This is my last year of high school and I hope when I get to college it'll be different."