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Friday, April 17, 2009

Day of Silence: Report from Napa Schools

As I reported recently, today was the Day of Silence observed by hundreds of thousands of students across the United States, including locally. In the act of being silent, students (both queer and straight allies) represented the many thousands of students who are forced silent about their LGBT or questioning identity through bullying, slurs and violence.

A friend of The Fruit (and Napa High School student) reports on how the Day of Silence went locally (this was in the comments section originally, but I wanted to highlight his report):
Hey everyone! So overall...I have heard good and bad things about this day at school... I have to go off tonight so i wont be able to give you a detailed report till the morning but I will be working on it later tonight. I will fill you in on some of the things that did happen just to give you a taste. The day started off with people not really sure of what was happening at Napa high, by lunch time people were a little more filled in. The three classes I did have today, all of the teachers were ok with me doing this form of silent peaceful protesting. There was a good number of students involved but exact numbers are unknown to me yet. I was called a faggot today by some rude commentors. I heard a worse story over at Vintage about something that happened but I will let you know more on that later.

Yes students still do use the phrase "that's so gay"... Majority do without even thinking. I've heard of LGBT teens who say it but they are usually the ones that don't really care and are of a younger generation. There are laws in place to protect students from harassment and discrimination whether its real or perceived sexual orientation. Monday is actually Queer Youth Advocacy Day in the capital and there are going to be Hundreds of students out there lobbying for more student rights and LGBT Bills, one of which is the Harvey Milk Day Bill.

Teachers...that's a tricky subject...most are passive about slurs on campus. Today in my Math class a student was discussing with the teacher about baseball teams one of which was Vintage. The student said out loud on front of the class "Vintage is so gay" and all the teacher said back was "I know" I winced(spell check?) at that but no one else really bothered with correcting the teacher. Today I was silent but on Monday I am going to talk to my teacher about that issue before I take it to the Admin. of my school. I know he means well and may not have realized what he says so i am giving him a chance, but if he does not respond in the correct way I will end up reporting him.

So that would be a little part of my day. I will give you a full report by tomorrow morning. Sorry for all that being in one paragraph along with there being spelling errors I'm sure, yet I myself am in a tid bit of a rush. I will also see if my friend from Vintage will give me a report on how it went over there exactly.
Many thanks, WPC for filling us in (and so sorry you had to deal with being called such by such an ignorant and hateful term, I'm sure many of us can relate and are with you in solidarity). I appreciate that you took the time, in spite of being busy, to share the information and I'm looking forward to hearing more. Cheers and love to the many local students (and supporting parents, friends and teachers) who participated.

Any other personal experiences from students, teachers, friends?


  1. Sadly New Tech did not have school on Friday :(
    We had DOS on Thursday :)
    We had a lot of support from the teachers and the students. All together we had about 90 students participate.
    That same night we held a "movie night" where we watched The Laramie Project and ended it with Harvey Milk's hope speech.
    It was a good DOS this year :]

  2. Thanks for your reports, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you future voters.
    You are very brave to risk harassment and social isolation, as well as verbal and physical abuse. Thanks for your willingness to risk your well being to stand up for equal treatment both socially and legally. The fact that the school allowed you to express yourself, (even by being silent), and your willingness to do so openly, are very encouraging for the future. Perhaps someday soon, we will be widely accepted as equal, but there is much fear and many negative beliefs to overcome. While we still have a long way to go, we have come a long way since the first equality group was shut down by the police in 1924. Don't let the prejudice get you down.