SAGA Speaks Through a Day of Silence

Pictured+above+is+the+GLSEN%E2%80%99s+official+Day+of+Silence+Poster.+Nearly+half+of+LGBTQ%2B+youth+have+seriously+considered+committing+suicide+due+to+bullying+or+lack+of+support+from+family%2C+friends%2C+or+peers.

Kevin Horn

Pictured above is the GLSEN’s official Day of Silence Poster. Nearly half of LGBTQ+ youth have seriously considered committing suicide due to bullying or lack of support from family, friends, or peers.

Bella Scott and Bailey Van Orman

Nearly a quarter of the student body followed the lead of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) club in a Day of Silence to have the silenced voices of the LGBTQ+ community heard.
Pins were handed out during each lunch block in the days prior to the day of awareness, and they were worn on Friday, April 8, during school hours to signal students’ silent participation.
By having the students not speak, SAGA hoped to shed light on silenced members of the LGBTQ+ community who feel that they cannot speak out on their sexuality and gender identity.
Historically, members of the LGBTQ+ community have been verbally bullied and harassed more than students who are not part of that community. The Day of Silence was created by college students at The University of Virginia in the late 1990s to highlight and stand up for these silenced voices around the world.
“This school year, it was really SAGA’s mission to get as much visibility in the school as possible,” said Bailey Asbury, co-president of the club. “It’s even more important for us having just come off of COVID, during which so many LGBTQ+ voices were silenced due to a lack of safe spaces like schools.”
After experiencing a difficult past two years due to COVID-19-related shutdowns, many clubs were not able to hold the activities they had the ability to do in the past. The year 2022 was Warren Hills’ tenth year participating in this national movement of silence, organized by SAGA.
“Warren Hills has been participating in GLSEN’s Day of Silence [an education organization formerly named Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network] for over a decade, and I think that’s one of the most important things we can do: not only connecting with our own school environment, but those all over the country as well by participating in national movements,” Asbury said.
Having a sense of community between LGBTQ+ students and their allies allows everyone to feel more safe in schools and gives them the support they need. Though Warren Hills’ Day of Silence took place two weeks before the official National Day of Silence on April 22, it was still a success.
“My favorite part of the Day of Silence was definitely seeing people participating regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” said SAGA Co-President Raina Teter. “It is important for LGBTQ+ people and their allies to stand together in order to amplify the magnitude of not only this demonstration, but also every fight against marginalization and oppression.”
Asbury said that the number of students and staff who participated in Day of Silence was encouraging and is what this cause needs to continue speaking up for the LGBTQ+ voices. Oftentimes, she said, this population has been silenced not only in school, but in their lives outside of the building.
“By doing so, you’re showing support for those who haven’t found their voices yet,” she said, “and ensuring that when they have found their voice, it will be heard.”