Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

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Day of Silence Responses

I looked into Day of Silence blog posts and found the following to be insightful.

From Joe Killian:
I helped a handful of friends organize the first Gay-Straight Alliance at my high school in Connecticut some years ago - and it wasn't smooth sailing even in that time and place. We did have sympathetic faculty, though, and the administration knew what was good for them and didn't get in our way. In fact, when a gay friend had his car windows broken and his tires punctured shortly after the group was made public it sort of galvanized the administration to stand in opposition to the meatheads who thought that kind of thing was necessary.

I did get some shit from the northern equivalent of rednecks at first. I remember, in the cafeteria of our school one day, some kids stopped me -- my friend Brian LaRue might have been with me -- to try to intimidate me and to pointedly ask if I was gay.

"What -- are you looking for a date?" I asked them.

Which, being the mental giants they were, completely flumoxed them.

From Scared Ordinary:
Before the event, the advisors had informed the students that during the Holocaust of World War II, the Nazis tried to exterminate not only Jews, but also Poles, gypsies, communists, and homosexuals. To identify these "undesirables," the Nazis required each group to wear a symbol on their clothing, as we all know. As Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David, homosexuals were forced to wear an inverted pink triangle. Since then, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community has reclaimed the inverted pink triangle as a symbol of pride and support for the gay rights movement. I did not know the latter, so thanks to the effort of the GSA, I became better informed.

During the morning break last week, students formed a large silent standing triangle on the main lawn. It was a deeply moving experience.


A bit of history about GLSEN co-founder Kevin Jennings and Massachusetts Governor William Weld from Lassiter Space
I knew Kevin Jennings back in the mid 90's when he was starting GLSEN. He once told me that he envisioned a future where every child learn to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. He was a teacher at the time and he devoted the next dozen or so years seeing that vision through. Gay kids nationwide owe Kevin Jennings a debt of gratitude, for making their cause his life's work.

During my Harvard days (circa 1993), I took a class called "Gay Issues in Education'' taught by prominent gayologist Dr. Arthur Lipkin. This was around the same time that former Mass. Gov. William Weld implemented a "safe schools" program that put anti-gay discrimination on par with racial discrimination within the public schools in Massachusetts. Basically it meant calling a kid a "faggot" would have the same gravitas as the N-word, for example. This is about the same time Kevin was getting GLSEN off the ground. Anyway the field work for the Harvard class was to research the efficacy of the safe school plan. Did Gov. Weld's program make schools safe for gay and lesbian youth? You betcha. In fact, Bill Weld remains my favorite republican politician ever. He was a moderate guy acting his conscience to protect gay kids.


All in all, I say that the Day of Silence was a meaningful experience for many.

5 Comments:

At 4/28/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

I was reading at some of the posts in Myspace, and one had this girl where she talked about his the Christian group in her school had all Day of Sillence material removed from school, because they went to the Principal office and said they were offended, and it was replaced with posters claiming all gays go to hell, and the school than allowed them to pass out tracks that said the same thing.

A prime example of bigoted people infringing on another persons right to freedom of speech.

 
At 4/28/2006 3:46 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Holy smokes, they need a lesson on the first amendment (among other things.)

Any hint where this school was located?

 
At 4/28/2006 5:21 PM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

I'm working on getting that information, however this is what she posted:

ok i go to a brand new school. it just opened in 2004 so this is only the secomd year of school. and last year we didn't have a GSA. but this year we do. and we did day of silence! or did we?


well we tried but then another club at our school CIA (christians in action) ruined it. or i thought they did. so heres what happened:



we got to school and we are all wearing rainnbows and things and making signs to put around school. and we all wrote postive things on eachother. so it was good. then by like second period i noticed all our signs were gone! and new signs were up saying that gays are going to hell and other things like that. and people from CIA were passing around panflits saying the same thing. ALSO ALTHOUGH OUR POSTER WERE BEING TAKEN DOWN BY SCHOOL STAFF. THE CIA WERE NOT BEING TAKEN DOWN (and theirs were offense) and then to further. they went to the office and told the staff that we were offending them. so people that were supporting day of silence were being taken out of class and being sent home and told to stop doing day of silence. not i didn't find that out till like 5 period. but you can believe how mad i was. we were getting in trouble for nothing when the CIA group were the ones saying horrible things and what not.

 
At 4/28/2006 8:40 PM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

As i understand it, it was at

inderkum high school

In Sacaremento, California

 
At 4/29/2006 5:53 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

This seems a rather odd place. The ninth court decision that the "homosexuality is shameful" t-shirt is not permitted would apply to this area. Of course, all schools are different, but since they have a GSA, they must have some awareness of the legal implecations. They should know better.

 

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