Day of Silence

by Stacy Owens

Walking across campus without saying ‘Hello’ to someone isn’t easy. Attending class without speaking for the entire hour is also a difficult task.

Tomorrow LGBTQA is presenting a Day of Silence, asking people to take a vow of silence in support of those who face silence every day because of their sexual orientation.

“We’re doing this to remind people that people of different sexual orientations often feel unable to share because they fear backlash,” Nick Proctor, faculty adviser of LGBTQA, said.

The Day of Silence has been observed at Simpson in past years, but LGBTQA is trying to publicize the event more this year. As a visible sign of their silence, members of the group are wearing tape over their mouths. People participating in the event are asked not to speak for the entire day, but communicating via e-mail and text messaging is allowed.

“We’ll be wearing tape over our mouths to represent our silence,” sophomore Justin Davis, president of LGBTQA, said. “When people ask us what we’re doing we have a card to hand out with information, a poem, and the national Web site listed.”

Students who aren’t members of LGBTQA are encouraged to partake in the Day of Silence.

“We hope non-members will participate,” Davis said. “We’re feeling a lot of support from many different groups on campus.”

Simpson faculty and professors have been informed about the Day of Silence and notified their students may not be speaking in class.

“An e-mail has been sent to the faculty so they’ll know what’s going on,” Proctor said. “I expect that they will be sympathetic considering it’s just one day.”

Professors are encouraged to talk about the Day of Silence at the beginning of class since it would be nearly impossible for them to participate in the event.

“It’s something that I’m tempted to take part in, but I need to consider what would serve all my students the best,” Proctor said. “It could be an interesting challenge for a professor to hold class without speaking – I am still wrestling with whether or not I will participate.”

Students who have participated in the past say they have felt apprehension.

“People don’t always understand and question the reasoning,” senior Lindsey Ingles said. “Don’t be afraid to approach people and ask them questions whether you are for it, against it, or just curious.”

According to Proctor, not speaking for the entire day isn’t necessarily the most difficult part of the Day of Silence.

“A day without talking isn’t hard, but when strangers know it’s about sexual orientation, that takes some guts,” Proctor said. “It can be kind of embarrassing to do it because it’s a piece of political theater, and that’s the hardest part.”