Day of Silence proclamation

Posted on 23 Apr 2008 at 2:57pm

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert signed a proclamation this week declaring Friday as the Day of Silence.

People, particularly students, all over the country already had plans to observe the National Day of Silence on Friday. It is an annual event, organized around the country by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network and intended to shine a spotlight on the issue of anti-gay harassment, bullying and violence in schools.

This year, the Day of Silence is dedicated to Lawrence King, the 15-year-old gay boy murdered by a classmate in February because the classmate was offended that Lawrence had flirted with him.

Mayor Leppert’s proclamation notes that more than 80 percent of LGBT students report being verbally harassed over their sexual orientation or gender identity; nearly 40 percent were physically harassed and nearly 20 percent were physically assaulted.

The proclamation points out that 40 of our 52 United States DO NOT have laws specifically protecting LGBT students (and yes, Texas is among those 40), and it declares that “every child should be guaranteed an education free from name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”

Truth is, signing that proclamation was really just a symbolic act that has no really tangible impact. But it’s also true that the intangible impact could be significant indeed. And I think Mayor Leppert deserves a round of applause for being willing to sign it, especially in a town where conservatives — the kind who don’t want to see anything gay-positive happening — still hold a lot of political clout.

You go Mayor! And thanks.

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