What Silence?

Am going to need my flame-retardant suit for this, I’m sure.

Today is “Day of Silence,” a pro-LGBT event in which participants take a vow of silence for the day. The goal is to raise awareness of the verbal harassment LGBT youths. It’s an absolutely fantastic cause, but I think some people, including the Day of Silence organizers themselves, are forgetting what “silence” means.

Day of Silence is a rebellion against the senseless name-calling by refusing to speak for the entire day. The expectation, then, is for there to be a noticeable quietness about today compared to most other days. In certain social circles, at least. Yet this is the opposite of what I’ve seen today.

Maybe I’m taking this too far, but isn’t Twitter considered a form of communication? And email? And facebook? Are LGBT kids not harassed there, as well? Can they not be called names in type instead of talk? So why then is Twitter so much noisier with people talking about Day of “Silence”?

People I follow on Twitter who normally appear once every few days are suddenly filling my Twitter feed with comments and re-tweets about the day. Most of those re-tweets are from @dayofsilence. One of them was even to advertise a Day of Silence radio special. I really hope that “radio special” is naught but dead air.

I admire and support everyone taking part in Day of Silence. The bullying and harassment will not stop unless we raise awareness to parents and teachers. These people need to teach their kids and students that bullying is wrong, and no one is any less of a person due to their sexual orientation or anything else that might set them apart as “different.”

Having said that, I still strongly believe a great number of people have misunderstood “silence.” The fact that #dayofsilence is trending on Twitter right now should be enough said. On the one hand, I’m happy it’s getting more publicity. On the other, it seems a bit counter-productive to have so many people talking about Day of SILENCE, doesn’t it?


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on April 15, 2011, in Real Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. You basically just blogged my thoughts.

    I’ve been fighting the urge to point that out all day long today on Twitter. I keep wanting to remind people what “Silence” actually means.

    Maybe it should be “Day of Peace,” where people have to spend the day without using any hate speech of any kind? That is something I can get behind.

  2. I heard about it a little too late, but from someone else who was involved and pointed it out to me online, and I immediately though: “Well that’s a strange, rather counter-productive idea, isn’t it…?”

  3. I don’t think it would be possible to be silent on the internet the same way people are silent in person, unless they make empty posts/tweets/etc, because not posting just isn’t comparable to being present in real life, but silent. I think the idea just doesn’t translate well to current forms of digital communication…

    • The impact comes from the contrast. I don’t talk much in person; I’m shy and thus rather quiet. However, I talk quite a bit online. In that respect, were I to be silent on Steam or MSN, it would be nearly equivalent to being silent in person.

      From my point of view, the contrast for Day of Silence was the opposite. Silence is only silent compared to the noise around it. Having heard nothing of Day of Silence until today when people wouldn’t stop talking about it… well that’s not giving the right contrast at all, is it?

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