Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I Do Not Support a "Day of Silence" Protest by Proponents of LGBT Equality

...no, not because I'm a hateful, vile, right-wing religious nutjob.

On Friday (today, by the time most of you read this), students in schools across America will take part in a "Day of Silence" protest against bullying of their LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) colleagues.

They have actually borrowed this method of protest from Pro-Life activists. I myself took part in a Pro-Life day of silence back when I was in school.

The general idea is that those who support their colleagues who lead an alternative lifestyle join them in solidarity and don't speak for an entire day. Some wear duct-tape over their mouths and some simply remain silent.

I have been asked by some of my more Conservative constituents and associates to speak out against this.

Problem is, I actually oppose bullying of students for ANY reason. As someone who was frequently a target of bullying (mostly in private school, before I came to East Penn), I sympathize with those who are victims of adolescent cruelty.
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I don't have to personally approve of a lifestyle to recognize someone's right to live it.

Others have said that this is unfair to their fellow students who have to answer questions and participate in class.

I'm sorry, political speech is political speech. You don't lose your right to it just because you're under 18, especially in a Government school. Freedom of political expression is something that needs to be encouraged in these youngsters no matter what their political leanings.

Heck, I wore American Flag shirts (still do, actually) and covered myself in stickers and campaign buttons on election days. I'm sure I pissed off a fair few of my classmates.

Being quiet and non-disruptive in class isn't unfair. It's usually expected behavior (and perhaps behavior I myself should have observed a little more often)!

My problem with a "Day of Silence" to protest bullying is that there is already too much silence! If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. Speak out against bullying, don't remain silent. Report it to a teacher or administrator. We have good teachers and staff that care in East Penn. It's not being a rat or a tattle-tale, it's doing the right thing and standing up for your friends.

I suggest to those observing a day of silence today, do not be silent. Do not be afraid of who you are or what you believe, no matter what that is. Proclaim it loudly and proudly to the whole world. Stand up for your rights and equality and help your friends and classmates do the same.

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