It is so easy for me to get caught up in the drama of "What if people at my church find out that I'm a lesbian?" Here's a news item to put that in perspective: On February 25, 2008, an eighth-grade student was shot and killed by a classmate in his school in California because he was gay. It was not long ago that my children were eighth graders. The idea that one of them might lose their life because of a crush on a classmate turns my stomach, but that is, evidently, what happened.
A few days ago there was a piece in our local paper about the national "Day of Silence." This is a youth-led effort to raise awareness about violence against LGBTQ youth, especially violence in schools. My daughter and her friends plan to participate. (One of my daughter's best friends is a boy who has recently come out to her. Also, she knows me.) On April 25, they will go through their classes without speaking; they will clear it with teachers in advance, and hand out cards to anyone who inquires as to why they are silent. This is a protest whose goal is safer schools and the valuing of every individual regardless of sexual expression.
Alas, this is scaring the hell out of some people. There is a national Christian organization that is attempting to stir up opposition to the day of silence, by claiming that students who participate will be "holding their classmates hostage" to their political agenda. Isn't that a fascinating reversal? Those who condone-- by their silence-- violence against LGBTQ people accusing others of a violent means of protest. Fascinating. Utterly fascinating.
Go to the website. Sign up. Tell your children about it. I'm so very proud of my daughter for standing up for her loved ones by this small but brave gesture.
Update: Pam BG has written about recent incidents of violence against members of Changing Attitude Nigeria here. Other articles, including a first hand account of the violence, can be found here.
Those who are silent about the violence are guilty of perpetuating it. It's that simple.