Day of Silence

I totally completely absolutely support gay rights.

However, I do not participate in the Day of Silence.

I used to.  But I didn’t last year, and I didn’t today.  Whenever I said hi to someone only for the gesture to be returned with a blank look and a silent wave of a white armband, I would feel guilty for not participating, so I feel as if I have to explain myself here.

I don’t entirely understand the concept of the Day of Silence.  I respect the difficulty that some people might have in fully expressing themselves because of their sexualities, but they still participate in class.  They still sing in Concert Choir.  Why should we stop doing those things for a day?  And does it really count as silence if you carry around a pad of paper in your pocket, writing down everything you would normally say?  Does it really count as silence if you mime what you want to say? Surely the Day of Silence replicates an experience more akin to people who are mute than to people who are gay (unless of course they are gay and mute.  But…anyway.).

I did get to experience this silence in the winter play when I played deaf mute paraplegic Pooty in ‘Reckless.’  This is a character who chooses to remain silent because she is afraid of who she is.  She is a very literal case of what the Day of Silence tries to convey.  When I played Pooty I made an effort of not speaking backstage as well.  It was a strange experience.  I would tune out to everything around me, and my existence became a very personal, very individual.  Being silent is being alone.

I suppose this lonesomeness is what the Day of Silence tries to expres.  Yet, doesn’t setting aside an entire ‘Day’  in which large groups of people participate defeat the purpose of indicating solitude?  It reminds me of ‘Spamalot:’

We must be lonely side by side; it’s a perfect way to hide.

I’m not saying that all gay people are ‘lonely’ or live in ‘solitude.’  I obviously cannot truly experience what they must experience no matter how many Days of Silence I observe – but in case this is the case, I will leave another quotation, wise words from Hagrid’s dad:

Never be ashamed.  There’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.

This advice applies not only to gays but to anyone who might be ashamed or afraid of themselves for any reason: half-giants, muggleborns, Slytherins…anyone (not that I know any Slytherins who are ashamed; quite the opposite).

The Day of Silence is effective in that I am now thinking about the importance of these issues.  Even if I didn’t participate in being silent, I still reflected on the cause and was aware of others observing it in their own ways.

If any of this is unclear, or if you have thoughts of your own on the Day of Silence, please comment.


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