Gay, Lesbian Students' Silent Protest Speaks Volumes

Participants say they hope their silence will raise students' awareness of bullying.

Dozens of North Texas high school students have vowed to remain silent for an entire day to protest the bullying and harrassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

Zach Segovia, president of the Gay/Straight Alliance at North Dallas High School, plans to not speak a word Friday on the National Day of Silence. The movement is also meant to support those who are still in the closet and who feel they are not able to talk about their identity in an open environment.

Segovia and close to 60 additional students will partipate in the movement, but not all students support it.

"Some students are open-minded about it, but others are just writing hateful comments on our poster that we posted up and some are just ripping it off," Segovia said.

On Thursday, Segovia and some fellow students painted posters and T-shirts inside their school's auditorium to wear on the Day of Silence. They said they hope their silence will bring awareness to their fellow students.

Beau Heyen, co-chair of The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said students from as many as 3,000 schools nationwide will participate in the movement.

"This is something I would have been totally too scared to do," he said. "I think it's so empowering to see so many youth stepping up."

Students will pass out cards that read, in part, "My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harrassment...Think about the voices you are not hearing today."

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