This Friday the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) will be participating in the National Day of Silence, an event MTHS has taken part in since 1992. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness towards the type of homophobia and bullying that have led to countless suicides in the United States.
“The purpose of National Day of Silence is to give a profound visual of the silently oppressed gay, lesbian, transgendered and queer students,” GSA President Laura Karnoski said.
Nearly nine out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2 percent) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted, according to national surveys.
“I think that if everybody took Day of Silence as a serious movement to combat homophobic bullying and harassment, we could see a lot of eyes opened to how many people are affected and offended by these blatant but so common and unfortunately socially accepted acts of hatred,” Karnoski said.
GSA members have made posters and advertisements and set up the display case at the front of the school to spread awareness on the issue. Kim Phillio and GSA Vice President Alana Erkan have been especially helpful in the process of preparing for the Day of Silence.
Examples of homophobic bullying commonly seen in the MTHS community include the use of the word “gay” as a synonym for something negative, the use of “fag” as a slur, and the subtle mistreatment of somebody of a different sexual orientation.
“There is nothing wrong with a youth being able to embrace and not be ashamed of something so defining as a sexual orientation. The oppression and hatred that they will face because of this unchangeable aspect of themselves that is as much of one’s humane constitution as race, creed, gender, or disability status is unfair and completely preventable,” Karnoski said.