GLSEN Day of Silence


Participants in the GLSEN Day of Silence wore stickers designed by Caitlin Roeltgen.

David Llorente and Rhea Howard

Last month, students and teachers took a vow of silence for one day to bring awareness to the effects of harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ+ students in schools. This year’s GLSEN Day of Silence took place on April 22nd, with around two hundred students, teachers, and administrators participating either verbally or nonverbally. The Day of Silence was organized by Radnor’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, a community of LGBTQ+ students and allies. Jack Teehan, leader of the SAGA club, explained that the demonstration was “a way for [participants] to demonstrate the importance of Queer people in the Radnor community.” By making the conscious decision to stay silent on April 22nd, Queer students and allies showed how valuable their contributions are, in and out of the classroom. 

In our country, we are still working toward creating safe and inclusive environments for Queer people. We are lucky enough to be living in a school district where administrators and teachers are so dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of every student. However, many students in Radnor are still comfortable making thoughtless homophobic comments and bullying classmates for their sexuality or gender identity. When asked if he or anyone he knows has experienced harassment or discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Jack Teehan responded, “Both as the president of SAGA and just in my life experience as a Queer person I have heard many, many stories of people being made to feel lesser than because they don’t fit into the mold of cis heteronormative society.” While Radnor is on its way to becoming an inclusive community, there continue to be instances where LGBTQ+ students feel targeted because of their sexuality and gender identity. 

The Queer and allied community, especially in recent years, have been coming together and organizing more events like the Day of Silence. SAGA has been heavily involved in bringing awareness to the effects of harassment and bullying of Queer teens. We interviewed one of the upperclassmen members of SAGA, and we asked her what the day meant to her. She said, “This day felt to me like it was a time when people who were allied on the same ideals could stand together in some small way and help support this cause. Even if the participant was speaking, it still felt like there was a community and that LGBTQ people in this school were not alone.” Other participants agree that the Day of Silence brought forth a sense of community and reminded them that they’re not alone. Mia Kripke, an active freshman member of SAGA described her experience as a participant, saying, “It really meant a lot to know that there were people behind us who cared about the community and were willing to show it, even if they were originally reluctant to show that support.”  

Overall, the GLSEN day of silence was a tremendous success. It was more of a “symbol of resistance than an actual act of protest,” according to Jack Teehan. However, knowing that so many people were willing to participate was incredibly gratifying to the LGBTQ community and its allies.