COLUMBIA — A crowd of about 200 gathered at Speakers Circle on Friday to witness a silent protest organized by Triangle Coalition, a group of MU lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies.
About 25 protesters formed a circle around evangelist Brother Jed as he recounted the story of Lot's escape from Sodom and Gomorrah, among other things.
Friday was the National Day of Silence, a day aiming to call attention to the harassment of LGBT individuals in schools. According to Triangle Coalition President Asher Kolieboi, the protest was organized in earnest after a transgender member of MU's LGBT community told him about inflammatory comments made by Brother Jed on Thursday. Kolieboi said they required a response.
"There is a fine line between free speech and hate speech," Kolieboi said.
Kolieboi said they hoped to communicate to the entire community that the oppression of members of the LGBT community occurs every day.
"We are saying volumes by being silent," Kolieboi said.
Triangle Coalition provided T-shirts to protesters and spectators. The shirts bore a large "90%" logo, which represented the percentage of transgender students who have been verbally harassed, according to a recent report by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
"We wanted to be visible and speak out," Kolieboi said. "I think we accomplished that."