When Words Fail, Silence Speaks

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Gay, lesbian and bisexual students are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control in 2011. To bring attention to the marginalization and abuse of LGBTQ+ students, DePauw students participated in the Day of Silence last Friday.

“Day of Silence is a worldwide day of action to bring awareness to bullying, harassment and assault against members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Queer Students of Color’s (QSOC) Instagram post said. QSOC’s Instagram also offered an email template for participants to send to professors.

While Day of Silence is a recognized on many college campuses, DePauw students wanted to add more to the day. “We wanted to also include a demonstration,” Karla Concepcion, president of QSOC, said.

The day consisted of staying silent all day, with some students covering their mouths with tape in order to physically show their commitment to silence for the day. Tape for those participating was available in Roy O. West Library, the Union Building, the Women’s Center and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

The preparation for the day included promoting the event, explaining what Day of Silence was to participants, researching statistics and making posters. “My statistic said 82 percent of the LGBTQIA+ community is bullied in school because of their sexual identity,” Concepcion said.

The demonstration took place at 4 p.m. and was originally split between Roy O. West Library and Stewart Plaza but was moved to just Stewart Plaza. Concepcion said about 20-25 students participated throughout the day and around 20 students participated in the demonstration.

“We all had the tape on our mouths and made posters with statistics… . We had posters and laid on the ground for an hour to honor people from the LGBTQ+ community,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion said her professors were understanding of explanation of being unable to participate in class during the Day of Silence. “I had to email my professors and explain why I wouldn’t be able to participate in class and all of my professors understood,” Concepcion said.

The QSOC executive board began planning the Day of Silence months in advance where the board posted information about the day and began finding allies to participate.

“It’s fine to participate in things from the LGBTQ+ community even if you are not queer, it’s fine to participate as an ally,” Concepcion said.