Friday, May 8, 2009

Are We Really Ending The Silence?

I protested something today. It's funny though. Even though I believed in this protest's cause with all my heart, mind and soul, the protest which was supposed to be fulfilling left me with more questions than I started with. Today any willing students at The School for Creative and Performing Arts took a day of silence (or attempted silence for those of us Drama majors :) to honor the silence faced by the bullied and harassed of the LGBT community. Considering that some of the kindest, funniest, and coolest people I know are part of this community and that I think the restricting of rights for those people is a disgrace to the morals our country attempts to instill in us, I quickly grabbed one of the cards reading "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today". That's when the wondering started.
First off, the Day of Silence was supposed to address the injustice of anti-LGBT bullying. But how can we do that if no one is talking? What purpose does the silence serve? Of course it was a powerful thing to see how people were willing to try as hard as they could to to protest this problem. But that's the thing. They weren't! They were sitting there with cards pinned on their shirts and tape on their mouths and not bringing attention to anything! LGBT rights is a cause I feel passionate in and that I hope to one day see everyone accepted regardless of who they choose to love. But I couldn't figure out this protest. It was meant to stop bullying...
But if they've driven you to silence, haven't the bullies won???
I am glad I participated though. I wanted to help in anyway I could. Though, I don't see how my silence today affected anyone much, but at least people now know where I stand on the issue. I sure found out where everyone stood today. When I came in with the Day of Silence card pinned onto my short sleeved hoodie my friend Emily kind of snickered and said "Good for you" in one of those voices girls use that sounds sarcastic and sugary all at the same time. But Shannon was incredible. She's pretty popular and she saw my card and walked over and mimed that she wanted me to come downstairs with her to get her a card. I didn't know she cared. Just the thought of that made me feel warm inside that I helped another person with the protest. :)
But with the big surge of pride I felt knowing Shannon was against the harassment, there was an enormous let down in another one of my friends. Which in fact happens to be the cause of my final pondering.
To understand my disappointment, you need to first understand the situation. Daniel, who is probably the meanest out of all my friends, is a strong liberal and believes in the expansion of gay, lesbian, and transgender rights almost as fervently as I do. And he eats lunch with my friend Adam, who is an equally enormous Republican. Look, just to clarify if you are a Republican, I'm not offended or anything like that. In fact, good for you, you're involved in politics. It's when you begin to exclude that I'm going to have a problem with you. I knew Adam went to Church. I knew he didn't support Obama. I knew it would probably be a meatheaded move on my part to talk to him about anything involving abortion. And I don't care! He has his opinions. It's America, not to mention how diverse of a school we're in. And we are kids. I don't typically bring up politics unless I feel the need too. Adam and I are typically too busy teasing each other and beating on Michael to think about it anyway. And not a lot of people know this, but at heart he's a gentleman so surely he couldn't truly be against anybody. God I wish I'd been right.
Daniel ran into me on the way to buy Ginger a drink with an angry look in his eyes. He broke his silence just long enough to tell me that Adam had seen his card, called him insane, and kicked him out of his table. I'd heard rumors Adam was a homophobe, but I'd ignored them. I guess I was hoping Adam, the guy who'd opened doors for me and defended me against Michael and Skylar, didn't really hate someone for a reason as stupid as the sex they were drawn to.
The whole thing confuses me. Especially considering the relationship we have. It's sort of complicated to explain, but Adam and I have a really unorthodox relationship for being two 14 and 15 year olds. I mean, I love the guy I really do. But it's not the lusty, fast, I wanna f*** you love most people assume all teenagers feel when we love someone. It's a lot more innocent. Really innocent. Like the way you loved someone in kindergarten when love was hugging someone, or holding someone's hand, or being able to talk to them about Pokemon and kickball and stupid things. It's really the purest type of love I guess. I know that entire paragraph probably just made you roll your eyes. But that's how I feel about him. Lots of people think he's a freak. Which is true to some extent. I mean he's the most awkward person I've ever met in my life, essentially he has the rep of an awkward little Christina boy, but you know what? He's MY awkward little Christian boy.
But that's I thought of my gay friends. How Tabari made me feel so accepted the first month I came to my school. How Donald made me feel safe and warm inside whenever I needed it most. How Dantez gives the best hugs. That's when I realized I wanted to grab Adam by his hair, shove his face into mine and scream "WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO DANIEL? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ALL THE GAYS IN THIS SCHOOL? HOW CAN YOU BE SO CLOSE-MINDED?!?!" It's bothering I guess. I don't know how to tell him that the cause of Rainbow Rights is something I believe in with all my heart and soul. I'll probably openly make a comment and see how he responds. I know Adam loves me back in the exact kindergarten way I love him. I just hope he can see that he's closing himself off from a group of nice, loving, beautiful people simply because they aren't attracted to the same gender he is.
Any thoughts on this?


  1. I completely agree. Truthfully, I'm bisexual myself, but i thankfully go to a very liberal school where being bi is probably more common than being straight. Even my boyfriend is bi, and all but 3 of my friends I believe, so I understand where you're coming from. I too have a homophobic friend, his name's Major, and it's amazing he can put up with me. He knows I'm bi, and he openly ridicules it sometimes, but he still tries to be my friend, which I'm grateful for. But, all of HIS friends are homophobes as well, so you can imagine the awkwardness. And so when I'm ridiculed or picked on by them, he is too for befriending me.

    But I've learned the best thing to do is ignore it, or at least try to. But I'm interested in what your friend has to say when/if you make a comment about it, so be sure to tell! Don't worry though, he can eventually come around. Major did.

  2. thankyou for your comment, it made me smile.

    i ejoyed reading this piece. personally, i do not think that the bullies have won just because they've evoked a day of silence, i think they've lost as sometimes it's true that actions are stronger than words.

    i had a friend like adam at school. complete homophobe, attended church on sundays, and although i'm not too clued up on american political parties such as republican (we have liberal and labour as our political powerhouses in australia) i know he seemed to have closed-minded views about many issues such as abortion. about a year after leaving school, the boy i knew came out as gay.

    my point is, even though adam may not be in the closet like my friend was, but a form of bullying could possibly be judging another on their personal views. it's a double edged sword.

    keep doing what you believe in, chick!

  3. hey there, alexy! i must say, this is one of the most brilliant post i've read. honest!
    i completely agree with you. i have a lot of wonderful lgbt friends. they're no different than anyone who is straight and they absolutely deserve to be respected in every way. i love my lgbt friends and i had fun coming to their stage shows. they give the warmest hugs and they're sensitive to my feelings too. and i am really glad that you're not a homophobic. i am from a country where it is legally and morally wrong to be lgbt and most of my friends are a bunch of extreme homophobics (some of them resolve to beating lgbts). it is not easy to change their mindset but in time, they will. it is our responsibility to guide them. i have yet to join a protest such as this but i do have a 'I AM NOT A HOMOPHOBIC' and 'NOMOREPHOBIA' badge and i pin them both on my bag and show 'em off to show my support. ;)) kudos to you, alexy dear! yay~!

    and about the silence, in my opinion, the protest requested you to be silent (when you don't see the point of being silent and wanted to speak out) so that you understand how lgbts feel when they're being oppressed and weren't able to voice out their opinions.

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