Students participate in National Day of Silence

Daniel Boyer, freshman international business major, spoke at B-GLAD observance of the National Day of Silence encouraging openness of GLBTs.

Daniel Boyer, freshman international business major, spoke at B-GLAD observance of the National Day of Silence encouraging openness of GLBTs.

Jessica MacIntosh

Silence fell upon Missouri Southern’s campus.

Sponsored by the B-GLAD club, the Philosophy Club and the College Democrats, students celebrated the National Day of Silence April 13, which is to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment of gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered people and their allies.

“[This] represents the first step for B-GLAD and Missouri Southern to have recognized the need in our campus for GLBT,” said Jason Hare, president of B-GLAD and junior Spanish major.

During the day, students observing the day remained silent as they passed out speaking cards, explaining what one could do to break the silence on campus. The card explained how one could become an ally, which, written on the card, is “a heterosexual who realizes the importance of equality as it relates to interpersonal expression.”

At 2 p.m. at the flagpole in front of the Billingsly Student Center, the group broke the silence by making noise with noisemakers.

Hare began the ceremony talking about the purpose of the National Day of Silence and Breaking the Silence. He said alternative sexualities are “pushed into silence” and “backed into corners.” He also said it is “no longer a laughing matter.”

“Gay people must not be forced into silence,” he said. “It’s our united opinion that friends of gay people should not be afraid. Remember the voices that you haven’t heard. Listen close to those that you now hear.”

Hare said they are trying to become more vocal about the issue.

“Through silence we made an appeal for equality,” said Daniel Boyer, freshman international business major.

During his speech, he explained how silence can be another person’s success and asked, “What are you doing to break the silence?”

Dr. Vernon Peterson, professor emeritus, came to the event to give his views and said, “The word silence has meant a lot.”

“It wasn’t easy for me to come,” he said. “What I did here today was intentional. I hope that you realize that you are in a good cause to promote life. When and how to act to promote a cause matters.”

Angie Boone, freshman Spanish major, participated in the Day of Silence and spoke at the event.

“That [not speaking] was definitely hard for me,” she said. “I have been quiet all day in my classes.”

Having stayed silent since early that morning, Boone said she wanted to talk.

“I’ve been noticing everybody around me speaking and having so much fun,” she said. “I had so much to say when I couldn’t speak. I was feeling kind of left out.”

Boone said everyone should try not speaking to see how it feels.

“It made me realize that I’ve actually been holding my tongue back a lot,” she said.

She said promoting the issues is a “wonderful thing.”

Hare ended the event, discussing how the group had to replace the flyers it had placed around campus.

“They were gone,” he said. “People hate us so much they just rip them down.”

He also said the group needs to keep going.

“We need to keep our voices active,” Hare said. “There hasn’t been any voice on this campus for gay and lesbian rights up until this point. We’re waiting to make a voice; we are wanting to be heard.”

A group of 15 people attended the event.

“I think it was quite a success,” Hare said.

Hare said on Oct. 11, B-GLAD will be celebrating National Coming Out Day, which is still in its planning stages. He said he hopes there will be a bigger turnout.

B-GLAD meets at 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays in room 311 in the BSC.