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LGBTQ Day of Silence – April 16, 2010

April 16, 2010

I’m doing the LGBTQ Day of Silence. Why? Because harassment in school is part of what made me take *so long* to even consider queer as a possibility, and then to come to terms with my own sexuality and being willing to say that to other people. There were only a couple out gay guys at my high school, and the treatment they received was not always pleasant – one got kicked out of his house senior year, and I heard him repeatedly made fun of and doubted even by his friends. Not to mention that the queer girls were “weird, and gothic, etc.” in most of our minds.  The way TWHS and its student body and community treated its LGBTQ members, in retrospect, was far from good.

In addition, for you Carls out there, you may think that Carleton is a totally welcoming, accepting, LGBT-friendly place, and often it is, but I have had friends react badly (thinking I like them because they’re women, feeling awkward around me, etc.), people yell slurs at me from cars (both before and after coming out, including “DYKE!!” and “Freaks!”), and homophobic jokes and comments made in my presence. I’ve even been told that using “gay” to mean stupid or bad should be ok since, “You’re the good kind of gay, Jane,” (I still have NO idea what that even means).  I’ve had people try to minimize the importance of reading about LGBTQ people in academic settings, even though that was the only thing I had *ever* read for a class with queer content, let alone something that included a remotely positive representation of myself.

So while I’m not asking you to take a vow of silence, do think about things like the recent event where kids created a secret prom and sent the lesbian and other social rejects to it, or the kids who commit/attempt suicide, and the people who feel uncomfortable referencing their sexuality or gender identity and expression in front of certain people or on facebook, etc (I still won’t tell my grandfather, for example, and when I was in Mali, I had a “fiance” named Ryan). When this stuff happens, it’s called harassment, discrimination, othering, and silencing. And that’s why I’m participating.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura Anselmo permalink
    April 17, 2010 1:51 PM

    I couldn’t do the day of silence due to events that had already been planned that day which required me to speak a lot, but I’m very proud of those who did, and encouraged others to do so. The town I lived in until I went to university was a small northern Canadian town that is very similar to what Americans would refer to a town in the “deep South”, with similar ideals. There was only one out gay guy at my school, and he was constantly teased and abused, to the point where he moved to escape it. Even though who were straight and stood up for LGBT-rights were accused of being “butch”, “dykes”, and “queers”.

    The university I go to (Queen’s) is also known as being very LGBT friendly, but there are many cases of homophobia here, as well, especially with the use of the word gay as an insult. I still hold out hope that I’ll see a day where it’s completely okay to be gay.

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