Students hope Day of Silence serves as a lesson

Sunday, April 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:34 p.m. CDT, Sunday, April 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — Students made their presence heard on the MU campus Friday, not by shouting or protesting loudly, but by remaining completely silent.

As part of the National Day of Silence, these students brought attention to the bullying and harassment lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students can face, this year focusing on transgender students.


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Students wore shirts with the statistic "90%" on the front, referring to the percent of transgender students who have been verbally harassed due to their sexual expression or orientation in school, according to the National Day of Silence Web site. The participants remained as silent as possible throughout the day, in class and even coming together for a silent protest on Speakers Circle at MU.

The event began in 1996 at the University of Virginia and has grown to be a national event, with more than 8,000 middle schools, high schools and colleges across the nation, according to the event's Web site.

MU has held a Day of Silence for several years. This year’s event was sponsored by the Triangle Coalition, Gamma Rho Lambda and the LGBTQ Resource Center on campus.

Erin Horth, vice president of TriCo and a member of Gamma Rho Lambda, has participated in several Days of Silence over the years, but said this one was the most impressive. Many students from Stephens College attended the protest, and between both schools, they handed out 500 of the "90%" shirts. 

“Everywhere on campus, I saw someone wearing the shirts,” Horth said, adding that this year’s event was the largest she’d seen.

Asher Kolieboi has been involved with the Day of Silence since high school. After coming out during his freshmen year, he said he faced ridicule at school. He found a way to speak out with the Day of Silence.

“As I grow older, I want to get more and more involved,” Kolieboi said, adding that he participates to stand up for kids that are in the same situation today that he was in high school. “It’s our responsibility, as a community, to take care of our youth.”

The day ended with a “Breaking the Silence” event on the steps of Jesse Hall. Students who had been quiet all day met to break the silence by shouting, “to raise our voices, as a community, against this injustice,” Kolieboi said.

The group of students remained quiet for 30 seconds upon meeting on the steps, counting down with signs. At the raising of the last sign, all of the students screamed loudly together for several seconds, their voices resounding in the air.

Melissa Ingrande, a member of both TriCo and Gamma Rho Lambda, said she hopes others can learn from the day’s events.

“It’s about accepting others for who they are – no matter what," Ingrande said. “No matter their gender expression, race, handicap, no matter who they are or what they’re going through – it’s about learning to be more accepting.”

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Ray Shapiro April 19, 2009 | 9:18 a.m.

(“It’s about accepting others for who they are – no matter what," Ingrande said. “No matter their gender expression, race, handicap, no matter who they are or what they’re going through – it’s about learning to be more accepting.”)
Wake up and smell the horse manure.
LGBTQ's focus is not about accepting others, no matter what. A person's race, their diagnosed disability or "what they are going through" is quite different than who you choose to bonk. Don't tell me that I have to be more accepting of that!
(I can learn to accept your silence. Beyond that, you're on your own.)

Gay marriage is an oxymoron," Savage said in comments e-mailed to WND. "It is a mockery of marriage by radical homosexuals who wish to destroy one of the last cornerstones of our culture. Those who have studied the communist agenda understand very well that Karl Marx himself derided marriage and family."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 19, 2009 | 9:57 a.m.

Michael Savage is correct on his view on Gay Marriage.

(Report Comment)
Ibelieve innewspapers April 20, 2009 | 10:32 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ray Shapiro April 20, 2009 | 8:48 p.m.

Considering that you quoted my "bonk" where have you ever found me to post the word "radical?" Do you consider yourself a "radical?" An anarchist? A hedonist? I just think that you are misguided, that's all. And what actually constitutes bullying or harassment? I have not read anywhere the specific harassment words which LGBTQ is accusing Bother Jed of using. Odd, or should I say, queer?

(Report Comment)
Brigid Foley April 29, 2009 | 1:49 a.m.

ray shapiro - did you even read the quote that you posted?

perhaps you should think - and read - before you type (or copy). it would reveal less ignorance.

I happened to be present at the protests during the Day of Silence which occurred at Speaker's Circle. Brother Jed called the students "whores" and "sluts." Now, is that not bullying? does someone's orientation cause them to be a "whore" or a "slut"? and what gives anyone a right to call people they don't know a whore or a slut?

However, Brother Jed's companion, (sadly, i do not know his name) was the far more offensive of the two. He told one student that she was going to hell. He even made the claim that he had "never sinned." As supposedly christian men, I only wish they would open a Bible someday.

Matthew 7:5
Luke 6:42
Romans 12:10
Romans 14 :1-13

May Brother Jed and his friend both see the error of their ways.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 29, 2009 | 3:01 a.m.

How rude for a religious street preacher at Speaker's Circle to use the words slut and whore. And I bet you must think that these two "men of the cloth" are probably the very first to shout out this idea of damnation and redemption and saving souls. (Why they must be great innovators, one of a kinds.)
I also can't possibly imagine why any religious fanatic would call college students, which he may believe to be promiscuous, (gay or straight), such nasty, filthy words. It amazes me that the MU administrators did not immediately tar and feather these vile, radical bible thumping soothsayers and run them out of town.
Do you think that Brother Jed, and this other fire and brimstone companion, should first find out how many gay virgins are on campus before they start jumping to any conclusions?
And, please give me your definition of the word ignorance. This is the only town I've ever been to where gay people like to throw it at men who have a "straight" take on homosexuality. It seems to come second to homophobic.
(Sort of like calling me a slut or a whore without really knowing me.)

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