Knox classes were a little quieter last Friday as the Knox community observed the Day of Silence.
Day of Silence is a day when thousands of students choose to be silent to raise awareness of the harassment that many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) students face.
“We remain silent to call attention to the silence that LGBTQ youth are forced into,” junior and Common Ground president Michael Martinez said.
Sophomore Christina Colman thinks that the Day of Silence makes an impact because it forces other students to realize how much they might be missing.
She said that students notice if they are with “someone you talk to everyday, and they don’t talk,” especially because she said that most students who are comfortable enough to come out about their sexuality are pretty talkative.
This year, the Day of Silence fell on the same day as Admitted Students day, which forced the students to change how they observed the day. Martinez, for example, had to talk to admitted students for his job and at the Common Ground booth during the Carnival of Clubs.
The overlapping times were an “unfortunate coincidence,” Martinez said, “but we’ll make do.”
They “made do” by distributing bandanas as a visual sign of unity, so students could still show support, even when they were forced to talk.
A majority of Knox students do not participate in the Day of Silence, but that could be a positive indicator of Knox’s treatment of queer students.
“Participation is fairly low since we don’t have a problem with bullying at Knox,” Martinez said.
At the end of the day, it is traditional for students who participated in the Day of Silence to do something special to break the silence. In previous years, Knox students joined in a collective scream, but junior Matthew Becker wanted something more. He organized Night of Noise, a dance party in the new Roger Taylor Lounge.
Becker said that if the Day of Silence symbolizes the reality of anti-queer bullying, the Night of Noise symbolizes LGBTQ students’ strength in the face of adversity.
“It’s to show we won’t let them silence us … to say it gets better,” Becker said.
He wanted to encourage everyone who attended to make a lot of noise, so he filled the dance playlist with songs from the 1990s and 2000s, songs Becker said “everyone knows and can sing along to.”
Most of the dance’s attendants were members of Common Ground, but the attendance was rounded out by some students from Monmouth’s gay-straight alliance, Students Organized for Uniting People (SOUP).
As the lights went down and the “Glee” cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” began to play, everyone in the room started to dance.
“Alright, we were silent, let’s make some noise,” said a grinning Colman.