Lambda Legal Commemorates National Day of Silence
(New York, April 14, 2011)—Today, in recognition of the National Day of Silence, Lambda Legal issued the following statement by Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg:
"It's been 15 years since the first Day of Silence, but after several tragic suicides by young LGBT people last fall, the media finally began to shine a light on LGBT youth who are bullied and harassed in schools.
"Today thousands of students across the country will take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. The message for schools across the country should be clear—adopt and follow policies that respect all students.
"Fifteen years ago, Lambda Legal won the first federal court case recognizing the equal constitutional right of lesbian and gay youth to be protected against discrimination and harassment. Since then, Lambda Legal has continued to fight for the rights of LGBT youth to be out, safe, and respected in school. For example, we currently represent Charlie Pratt, who was harassed by students and teachers at Indian River School District because he is gay and did not conform to sexist stereotypes of masculinity; last year we worked with the ACLU to help a Tennessee student who was sent home from school for wearing a shirt that had the word 'gay' on it.
"We must act urgently and do everything in our power to create safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and their allies. We must push for laws on the federal level and in every state that prohibit bullying and discrimination. We must hold people accountable, and use the courts when necessary. And most importantly, we must love and support all of our children, and teach them to respect and support each other."
Read The Freedom to Speak (Or Not) to learn about your legal rights to participate in the Day of Silence sponsored by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
Report resistance to your Day of Silence organizing or activities by your school administrators or faculty. If you are a student in a U.S. K-12 school and feel that your rights are not being respected, please let us know!
Read Out, Safe, Respected: Lambda Legal's toolkit designed to make sure students know their rights and are respected in school.
Contact: Jonathan Adams 212-809-8585 ext 267; [email protected]
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.