Tips for Thought

The National Day of Silence

April 14th is the National Day of Silence. This is an annual event held in many countries around the world. It is a day when individuals pledge to remain silent to raise awareness for the discrimination and harassment that the LGBTQ+ community experiences. The history of the Day of Silence dates back to 1996 when a University of Virginia student named Maria Pulzetti came up with the idea.

Maria Pulzetti was a student activist who noticed that LGBTQ+ youth were often silenced and ignored by parents, teachers, and administrators. She believed that their concerns and complaints were falling on deaf ears and that more needed to be done to raise awareness about the discrimination and harassment they faced. Inspired by this, Maria created the Day of Silence for the University’s Pride celebration.

What is Pride?

It’s an annual festivity of the LGBTQ+ community. Many cities around the world held Pride events during the month of June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City in June 1969. This month-long event is often referred to as “Pride Month.”

Why was it created?

The community has faced discrimination, stigma, and marginalization throughout history. This can lead to feelings of shame, isolation, and depression. Pride Week aims to combat these negative emotions and promote positive self-esteem, self-acceptance, and community connection.

Let’s talk about LGBTQ+

This stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and other non-heterosexual or non-cisgender identities. It is an umbrella term for individuals who identify as any of these identities or a combination of them. The term “queer” is often used as an inclusive term for anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, regardless of their specific identity. The “+” is included to represent other identities or orientations that may not be explicitly included in the acronym. Overall, the term LGBTQ+ is used to promote inclusivity and acceptance of individuals who identify as part of this community.

Depression in the LGBTQ+ Youth

Research has shown that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience depression than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as discrimination, bullying, lack of acceptance, and social isolation.

Bullying

Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience verbal, physical, and sexual harassment than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This can lead to feelings of shame, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Lack of Acceptance

Another factor contributing to depression is the lack of acceptance from family and peers. Many LGBTQ+ youth face rejection and stigma from their families, which can be incredibly painful and isolating.

Social Isolation

Many LGBTQ+ youth may experience social isolation due to lacking support networks or a sense of belonging. This can be particularly true for those who live in areas that are less accepting of these individuals.

Unheard Voices

The silence surrounding LGBTQ+ youth can be seen in many areas, including school, home, and the broader community. Teachers and administrators may not provide support or resources for LGBTQ+ students, leading to a sense of invisibility and neglect. Parents and family members may struggle to understand their child’s identity or may outright reject it, leading to feelings of shame and unworthiness.

To combat the sadness of LGBTQ+ youth, society needs to acknowledge and validate their experiences. This includes creating safe spaces where LGBTQ+ youth can be themselves without fear of discrimination or abuse. It also means providing support, resources, and education for parents, teachers, and administrators on supporting LGBTQ+ youth.

Furthermore, providing representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ people in media and society can help to combat the silence that contributes to the sadness of LGBTQ+ youth. Seeing positive role models and allies can help LGBTQ+ youth to feel validated and supported and can help to reduce feelings of loneliness.

A Day of Action

Here are some ways to take part in this important day:

Take a vow of silence

The most common way to participate in the National Day of Silence is to take a vow of silence for the day. This means refraining from speaking, which can symbolize the silencing that LGBTQ+ individuals face.

Wear a symbolic accessory

You can wear a symbolic accessory such as a rainbow ribbon, a pink triangle, or a purple armband to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Attend a Day of Silence event

Many schools and organizations hold National Day of Silence events, such as rallies, marches, and panel discussions. Attending these events shows your support for the cause and connects with other like-minded individuals.

Educate yourself and others

Use the day as an opportunity to educate yourself and others about the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

Take action

Take action by contacting your local representatives, signing petitions, or donating to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. You can also start your initiative by creating an LGBTQ+ support group at your school or workplace.

Seeking help

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can affect anyone. Discrimination, lack of acceptance, and social isolation can all contribute to the development of depression. It is important to recognize that this is a serious condition that requires professional treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, seeking help from a mental health professional is a priority. Treatment can include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms and improve overall mental health.

Serveral resources are also available for LGBTQ+ youth who may be struggling with depression or other mental health issues. The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. They can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also provides resources and support for individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Final thoughts

Remember, the National Day of Silence is a day to bring attention to the silencing of LGBTQ+ individuals. There are many ways to support and participate, so choose the ones that resonate with you and make a meaningful impact.