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Students to remain silent in recognition of LGBT violence

While many protest groups choose bullhorns and chants to get their message heard, one group is using silence.

Friday, Ohio University students, along with thousands of others across the country, will participate in a day of silence to honor victims of LGBT-related violence.

The national Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools, according to a press release.

“I think Day of Silence is important because I remember a time when I had no voice to speak with because I was closeted,” said William McFarland, a member of SHADES and a sophomore studying sociology and psychology. “I know the struggle, though I was never bullied.”

The LGBTA Center — along with SHADES OU, a group that connects racially and ethnically multicultural LGBT students — is hosting OU’s efforts of silence.

This day of silence has been practiced nationally in schools since 1986 and is the most widely participated-in student-led day of silence.

“I think the silence is really effective because people are so used to hearing the same argument over and over,” said Adam Russell, a senior studying French. “It’s essentially the silent treatment; it gets attention.”

Though the students do not speak, the participants carry cards and wear ID badges that explain why they are being silent and what the cause represents. They are encouraged to explain to their professors before class why they will not be speaking as to not be punished.

In coordination with the day, the LGBTA Center is providing cards and badges at a booth in Baker Center on Friday. There is also an event called “Breaking the Silence” for those who participate and those who want to learn more, at West Portico at 5 p.m.

The event is designed for those who participated to “break their silence” together and begin talking again at 5 p.m. They are also encouraged to use their ability to speak again to share their stories of being silent and how it affected them.

Students are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs to set up on the green. Pizza, soda and dessert will be provided.

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