Silence speaks violence against LGBT bullying

By Jessica Johnson-Petty
April 24, 2012

(Left to right) Gregory Robinson, Stephanie Reed, John Eddings, Kayla Tindel, Dyamond Gleaves, Alexandria Jeter, Alex Saboe (Jessica Johnson-Petty/Asst. A&E Editor)

For an entire day of work and class, red duct tape stayed strapped across the mouths of the students, throughout the United States, who proved the impact of what being silent can do to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and their allies as they challenge the campus to speak up.

Entering Founder’s Hall, you approached a table stationed that no one could miss. A red tablecloth covered the table that was fill of information about the day as representatives where there to inform all who inquired about the day.

“I wanted to put myself in the position of those who did not have a voice and still do not while being bullied, closeted and feeling they were alone. I wanted to experience their struggle and really feel their pain,” Dyamond Gleaves, sophomore psychology major, said.

To the left hung a banner that had photos of the campus LGBT community including their family and friends with duct tape across their mouths. Over 40 faces were on this banner causing people to stop look and read. To the right of was a second table to decorate handkerchiefs. Each person was instructed to “be creative and design or destroy the handkerchief” in what ever manner they felt necessary. The message was to portray the message of anti-bullying and how the issue is significant to people it affects.

These hankies where pinned to a clotheslines stretching between trees. The 32 blew in the wind representing each person affected by the silence.

Each hankie stood for a color. A black for a victim lost, red for a person struggling with identity, white are for allies of LGBT and anti-bullying, yellow flew for the survivors organnization LGBT Bullying.

“I thought the event was important because it shows that everyone should be equal and not treated differently. In America we honor diversity that’s why we are so powerful,” Jaiquann Beckham, junior education major, said.

One vocal ally, senior psychology major, TaRaja Davis, was the voice at the table while silent pledgers wrote on dry erase boards to communicate on the importance of they day and why they chose to participate.

Even though the table was hard to miss people would walk by, ignore the vocal allies and continue to stay silent about an issue that is prevalent in our society.

“At first while sitting at the table, I was upset because it seemed like people just wanted to ignore the fact that others who identify with the LGBT community don’t have a problem, or maybe they didn’t have two minutes to spare out their day to her some information that they may have been curious about,” Davis said.

It was clear that the day was to highlight the silence that LGBT people face in their day-to-day lives through the many vocal and silent allies.

“I want people to have the same experience I did and have the right to be out if they feel comfortable enough,” John Eddings, sophomore biology major, said.

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20, those who vowed to be silent did so in honor of the LGBT community.  The Office of Student Diversity collaborated with the office of Student Diversity and SEaL to form a committee to plan the day and what it entailed.

“During the day, I felt a little hesitant to put the tape on my mouth because I did not want people to stare at me but as the day progressed I gained more confidence,” Gleaves said.

Several students also decided to be vocal allies for the day.

“I choose to be a vocal ally I have friends and family who are a part of the LGBT community and it scares me the things they have to go through, but it annoys me even more that people refuse to recognize injustice when they

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Jessica Johnson-Petty

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