Task Force Commemorates Day of Silence

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Communications Director, isorensen@theTaskForce.org, 646.358.1463
Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator, pjserrano@theTaskForce.org, 646.358.1479

Task Force Commemorates Day of Silence

WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force commemorates the annual Day of Silence,
sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
Thousands of students nationwide are participating in today's Day of
Silence to bring attention to name-calling, bullying and harassment
that many youth encounter daily based on their actual or perceived
sexual orientation and gender expression/identity.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The Task Force salutes each and every student keeping silent today
to advocate for schools that are free of bullying and harassment. We
know that young people risk their safety every day in order to attend
schools that provide cover to and ignore the bullies who can make their
lives living hell while adults look the other way. Adults must act to
stop the epidemic of school harassment that diminishes the safety of
all, but particularly leaves young lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people isolated, afraid and desperate.

"The recent suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince in South Hadley,
Mass., underscores in the most stark way the need for adults to
intervene when they witness bullying of students. We've also heard the
recent stories of two students who survived bullying at Itawamba
Agricultural High School in Fulton, Miss. Constance McMillen was the
victim of a mean trick by her fellow students and their parents when
she was invited to a sparsely attended 'prom' while most of her other
classmates partied at a different event. Meanwhile, Juin Baize was
driven out of Fulton for wearing clothing the principal deemed 'a
distraction.' He sought refuge and a better high school environment in
Florida.

"Adults must develop a mature conscience of empathy when students
are the butts of jokes, sneers and contempt by other students and,
sometimes, even parents of students. We need comprehensive federal and
state legislation to put in place policies and practices that mandate
school personnel to report and stop the bullying. Let's end the
isolation and fear, let's stop the bullies, and let's make our schools
welcoming to all. The lives of kids depend on us."

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.

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