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My Silence Spoke Volumes for the LGBT Community

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On April 17, I and hundreds of other students were silent for the LGBT Day of Silence. OK, I'll be honest; I broke my vow of silence more than a few times. I said "sorry" and "thank you" to strangers who held the door for me, apologized to a teacher because I walked into the wrong class, asked a math question, and cheered for a friend in the student council election. I didn't stop trying to communicate, either.

Being silent made me realize how I communicated harder. I spent the entire day basically playing charades except for the few times I broke my silence. This increase in difficulty demonstrates how the LGBT community have voices just like we do — people are just less willing to hear them, just like they were less willing to hear what I was trying to say on that day.

There were some people who were willing to play along with me, interpreting my hand gestures and reading my lips. I wanted to thank them. There were people who honestly wanted to know more about the LGBT community and tried asking me about it. I wanted to tell them, "I'll talk about it with you any day, just not today!" There were people who would brush off what I was trying to communicate because I was being silent. I wanted to tell them that talking was never the only way of communicating, just like being straight was never the only sexuality. Then there were people who expected more from me, like not breaking my silence at all or keeping it for a longer time. I wanted to tell them that unless they were willing to be silent too, they shouldn't tell me how to behave, just like we shouldn't be telling LGBT people what it means to be LGBT.
LGBT Day of Silence notebook
But for the most part, reactions were positive. The exception was this girl who looked at the poster (I'd written my explanation for being silent on) and asked, "Oh, so you're just going gay for a day?" I shouldn't have been surprised, but I still was, even though this wasn't new. She made gay jokes almost every day. I almost lost my head, not because I almost broke my silence with a rant, but because of how passionately I shook my head "no." Being LGBT has never been a choice. Who would choose to be oppressed for whom they love?

I repeated that question at the club that had essentially organized the event in our school. My reflection of the experience was fairly negative, focusing on how we ignore and silence LGBT voices with our language, like using gay as an insult. The club president was positive, instead focusing on how the Day of Silence showed how important our voices are in making a difference. That made me realize that I'm a heroine in my own right. No more picking out dream super powers. I already have the power to speak up.
(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)

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