Silence is Golden
by Jon Hanover, Editorial Editor
The West Geauga branch of the Gay Strait Alliance (GSA) participated in a national day of silence on Wednesday, April 26. The Day of Silence originated in 1996 and has become the largest single, student-led action with the intention of creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Said West Geauga sophomore Liz Milburn, "The Day of Silence is a day long-vow of silence that students take to show their support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people."
Support for the Day of Silence is growing. In 2002 there were 1,900 students who held their tongues to support the movement. This year over 3,000 students nationwide participated.
The Day of Silence intends to make a statement and the participants in the Day of Silence were not surprised that it prompted a strong reaction from many students. "We were expecting it," said sophomore Antony Leonette, "I think it's a good thing." Said Milburn, "The controversy has always been there. Now we can just see it."
The reaction to the Day of Silence took many forms. The participants weathered jeers and dirty looks and one was even handed a napkin in lunch with, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," written on it.
Beside the insults, however, was a more organized reaction to the Day of Silence. Some students at West Geauga, members of the local Strait Organized Alliance (SOA), countered with shirts reading DOL, or Day of Loudness. "The goal of SOA is to fight ignorance," said leader Kyle Wrobel, "a different form of ignorance than GSA is fighting, but the bottom line is we are both fighting ignorance, not each other."
"The world expects us to be silent about it," said Anthony Leonette, "but if we shut up about it, we're going to have homophobia and discrimination."
Wrobel agrees: "If both sides would just talk about it, I don't think there would be a problem. Just because someone is opposed to homosexuality does not mean they are narrow minded or homophobic."