Thanks to all the students and allies for sharing their experiences and stories with Day of Silence. Here are some of those experiences and stories from people throughout the country!

Frequently Asked Questions


Ally Week
Dr. MLK Jr. Organizing Weekend
Day of Silence

© Copyright, 1996-2010 GLSEN
(Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)




  • We sold t-shirts and promoted the event in the weeks preceding the Day of Silence. We reserved one of the cafeterias to have a silent lunch, which was only open to participants. After school we held the Breaking the Silence event there with activities and food - a great way to process the day and celebrate [with] about 100 of the 300 participants.

  • I first went to the principal of my school, and asked permission to do the protest. School rules say that any student/organization may protest as long as it does not affect the learning of any student. It took me a total of nine minutes to convince him to agree to let us do the Day of Silence. 137 people signed up and on April 18th over 200 students protested with us. The impact on the school: since April 18 there hasn't been a single fight related to the discrimination of any gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or our supports on campus!!
  • California:
  • [We had a] silent protest in which over 100 students participated and numerous others wore black to show their support. On our school television program [did] a piece about our GSA and about the Day of Silence; [it included] our meeting with another school’s GSA and a rally at our State Capital.

  • We had red armbands for those who were silent and white armbands for those who were supporting the event but were speaking.

  • On Wednesday our group, CAUSE, observed the Day of Silence. On Wednesday and Thursday we showed The Laramie Project in two parts (the first half one day, the second half the next). It ended up being two different groups each day, with over 100 people the first day, and around 70 the following day. Some saw the first half and some only saw the middle to end. IT WAS AMAZING THOUGH!

  • We had approximately 96 people sign up and about 80 who actually followed through; others who contributed in [a variety of] ways [such as] supporting those who participated and posting support signs. This is particularly remarkable since we have a student body of about 360.

  • TEACHER PARTICIPANT: The Day of Silence was the most visible event so far. We ordered t-shirts and buttons, announced the Day of Silence on our televised daily bulletin, made and posted fliers in classrooms and windows of supportive teachers, and had a sign-up/information table at lunch on the quad for the 2 days before the event. One other teacher and I participated in the silence. We had about 60 students sign up--out of a total 1200 students at our school. That's a 5% participation rate--higher than I expected. We had support from administration. There were some limited reports of verbal harassment: one student said, "I'm offended by that. I hate fags." Others grumbled vague offense or discomfort. But, overall, the event was well received. Considering we have about 20 members in our GSA, we were surprised to have 3 times that many willing and eager to participate. We felt that we made a positive impact, and increased the cohesiveness of the group. Immediately after school we held a brief Breaking the Silence rally on the quad.
  • Colorado:
  • A small group of us from the GSA made and wore T-shirts with the official Day of Silence logo/design. We all banded together before school to encourage more people to participate because they knew there was a safe group. We set up an area in the counseling office where students could go who were feeling stressed or overwhelmed. We made stickers with a water mark rainbow design that had the same [statement] on them as the Speaking Cards. We passed them out to the participants making made it easier for teachers and other students to recognize who was and who was not participating. We got a lot of support and questions from the non-participants. We realized collectively that questions were better than ignorance and arrogance. People are always more [sympathetic] and supportive of things they understand! Many of the teachers had me "explain" the day, or let them read a Speaking Card to the class to raise awareness and understanding. [Getting] more students getting would make it amazing, but overall it went well and I think we are all going to be more prepared for next year!
  • Delaware:
  • I talked to my guidance counselor and my GSA. We talked to the staff at our high school and they were very supportive. We told all of our friends about the event and made laminated Speaking Cards, ribbons and T-shirts. Two days before the Day of Silence, I spoke at a staff meeting after school in front of 70 teachers. I was very nervous but, for the most part, the administration found the event to be a wonderful idea. It went better than anyone had anticipated.
  • Florida:
  • I go to a very small school where there are only about 30 kids in the whole high school so it made it a bit more difficult. I got one of my classmates to be a part of it with me. We accomplished a lot on that day because at least we let people know that it’s ok to speak out no matter what sexual orientation you are. My teacher congratulated me on being involving in the Day of Silence.
  • Hawaii:
  • I am the president of my school’s GSA and I got our club involved in spreading the word about the Day of Silence. We printed and posted flyers and spread the news through word-of-mouth. I conducted a meeting for students to understand what the Day of Silence is and how to get involved. On the Day of Silence my GSA members and I set up a table for people to sign-up and receive a packet of Speaking Cards and a button. Then after school I organized a Breaking the Silence event in a classroom at school.
  • Illinois:
  • We hosted a movie night at the Breaking of Silence where lots of people shared stories. We all thought it was a major success.
  • Indiana:
  • We had an announcement on the school news, put up posters, handed out information, stickers and Speaking Cards before the day. On the Day of Silence lots of people were silent and some people wore stickers to show support. After school, the GSA had a meeting to talk about the day.
  • Louisiana:
  • My school won't allow us to have a club or hang up posters or anything like that. The only way to spread the word about the Day of Silence was through word-of-mouth. I got some people to agree to do it, having talked to them earlier in the week. On Day of Silence a lot of people saw me being silent and asked for a Speaking Card because they decided they wanted to participate too, so many people started during the middle of the day. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people actually participated. I was very proud of the freshman class at my school.
  • Maryland:
  • At my school students were silent or wore stickers in support of a trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. [We had] 147 people, 67% of the upper school, participate. In my county, four or five schools - approximately 30 people - got together in the park for pizza and sharing experiences to break the silence; it was sponsored by PFLAG.

  • We set up a table at lunch for people to sign up for the Day of Silence the week before. The day of everyone met out front of the school and we broke the Silence in a group yell.

  • It’s amazing how many people turned out for the Day of Silence. We didn't have a lot of things planned, but I wore all my rainbow stuff to school and another girl took the [Speaking] Cards in different colors and taped them together to make a rainbow. Another straight guy, who WAS NOT a part of our GSA, held strong even when his other guy friends were making fun of him and trying to make him talk. It just goes to show you that not speaking at all is sometimes stronger than speaking many words.
  • Michigan:
  • 35 students handed out Speaking Cards and remained quiet. 17 of us wore the Day of Silence t-shirts.

  • People wore black, we passed out ribbons and asked teachers to wear black. We didn't speak and some people duct-taped their mouths.

  • I designed and ordered t-shirts (we sold about 100) and [held] a tie-dye party for people interested in colorful shirts. I passed out the Speaking Cards. I bought pizza and pop for all the Day of Silence participants and supporters for a Breaking the Silence party after school, during which we discussed the reactions of our school's administration, the district administration's reaction, and the reactions of parents and students. My GSA co-leader and I spoke at a faculty meeting to inform teachers that students would be participating in the Day of Silence.

  • We spent Tuesday afternoon putting up posters and flyers to get the word out, and we had a silent gathering at lunch. We also did a Night of Noise party at somebody's house. It was a great experience and it brought us all closer together.

  • I organized for students to be silent through out the day. Many students wore t-shirts or stickers that I printed out, and rainbow bracelets that we all made. I organized a Breaking the Silence event and even invited another GSA in our district that participated. At the Breaking the Silence event we had a potluck and lots of people donated food items and soda. We had people speak and one girl read two amazing poems. Some people [sang] songs that inspired self pride and had an anti-discrimination message. It went really well and we had an awesome open speak where many people got emotional, which was great because there was much support to be felt.

  • I found out about the DOS at last minute so I attempted to tell as many people in the school as possible. On the “day of” there were many people that participated and stayed silent the entire day. A lot of people did miss some big assignments/projects.
  • North Carolina:
  • We handed out fliers, spreading the word about the GSA and the Day of Silence.

  • Originally, it was only going to be a few of us, with myself and my best friend at the forefront and a couple of our other friends who we'd told about it and wanted to support us. It was amazing because once people saw that we were really serious and found out that we were willing to actually do this, more people than we ever thought joined in. It was absolutely amazing. It started with five and multiplied exponentially.
  • Nebraska:
  • Originally we only knew of about 6 kids that were doing this at my middle school, but when we got to school we realized that about 2/3 of my grade was silent! It really spoke out and was awesome! I didn't know people weren't afraid to show this. I think it was awesome that it was a real success and I can't wait to participate in it next year!
  • New Jersey:
  • At our school we decorated our whole center hall with streamers, posters, and other decorations. We handed out cards and wore t-shirts that said "Don’t Speak" on it. At night we had our Breaking the Silence event which was a coffee house with live music, art work, and other fun stuff. Admission was $2 and we raised $70 for our club!

  • I'd say that, by the end of the school day, 100 students (out of about 1500) participated at my high school. I probably would have been able to get more to participate if my school advertised more on the holiday. Most people didn't know about it.
  • New Mexico:
  • We plastered the school with posters the week before the event and put up the posters three mores times (after their being torn down). About 60 people signed up for the event and more participated as they learned about it over the course of the day. Our school's broadcast did a very nice story on the DOS, thanks to a media student who is sympathetic. I think our goal or raising consciousness about LGBT equality was successful.
  • New Hampshire:
  • Announcements were made every morning leading up to the event, [we conducted] a staff-meeting presentation, and [we set up a system for wearing one] of two ribbons. Red ribbons [were for those who] kept silent and blue ribbons [for supporters]. On Friday we had an excellent Breaking the Silence discussion and nearly everyone who showed up had something to say. We all learned a fact or two, and I'm absolutely positive that we've opened some people's eyes to the fact that sexual differences do not define our person. There is A LOT of support for those GLBT students in our school.
  • New York:
  • Five peer leaders and five student/athletes, who were not part of the Student Alliance For Equality (SAFE), participated by handing out the Speaking Cards that had an additional message on the back quoting Tim Hardaway's homophobic rant, plus the statement: "TIM HARDAWAY DOESN"T SPEAK FOR ME!" School staff members, including the Assistant Principal of Security/Safety, wore the ALLY button. At the end of the day, those participating wrote their reflections on the day.

  • Our GSA asked people to take a vow of silence. I asked two teachers to allow their students to be silent. I organized the publicity for the event and [created and distributed] announcements, posters, and cards. I organized a class-room discussion and gave a presentation about the Day of Silence in all English classes, but I was not able to get done due to time restrictions.

  • We organized a faculty and student participation team. Our administration was on board the entire way! Memos were sent out to our faculty alerting them about the DOS and we scheduled a Breaking the Silence event for the next afternoon. We also incorporated a local free production known as "Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project" which focused on bias and hate of both straight and LGBTQ students from grades 4-12. All together, it was excellent.

  • We either had students being silent or wearing the sticker for support. For the “day of” we had music playing and many people signed up. In the days before, I made two video commercials for the DOS and we had information tables [during] lunch periods.

  • We organized [a bake sale before the] national Day of Silence so we could actually talk to our customers. They asked questions, "What is this for?” We answered and got some great responses. We put up posters everywhere and for the first time ever we did not see GSA posters ripped down!

  • Meetings were held throughout the weeks as we tried to come up with things that we could do. We wanted to order shirts, but there weren’t enough people who were sure about [participating]. In the end we decided that we would all wear lime green shirts and to be recognized by others in our school. Stickers were made as well as Speaking Cards (the cards came in really helpful!) Everyone wanted a sticker, so in the end we ended up having more people involved than was expected.
  • Ohio:
  • Although my involvement in the Day of Silence workshop required me to speak, I was able to spread the word through the workshop and distribute stickers and cards to representatives from other schools who were interested.

  • I wrote to my friends and teachers what was going on and how this would better help the community.
  • Oregon:
  • No one spoke and there were 200 kids at my school who did not talk all day. It was a huge success - better than any of us could have ever dreamed.
  • Pennsylvania:
  • COLLEGE PARTICIPANT: We had tables in our student union where we duct-taped our mouths with the word "homophobia" and passed out Speaking Cards (VERY VERY EFFECTIVE). We sent out a campus-wide email informing students and staff about the day and we also encouraged the entire Liberal Arts department to take part by giving them letters. We had T-shirts and pins for sale, as well as free rainbow ribbons. We had a breaking the silence scream in a very prominent part of our campus at 5:00pm.

  • We organized a silent lunch and reflection period after school. At the silent lunch we, as a group, raised even more awareness to make a "louder" statement. This was the first time we'd attempted a silent lunch and the participants seemed to love it. After school we had a reflection period with milk and cookies. Everyone had a different reason for participating, and each person walked away with new knowledge.

  • Approximately five students were silent throughout the day, and more joined as the day went on. Students distributed cards. We held a small presentation at faculty meeting... leading up to the Day of Silence. We will be discussing LGBT issues at "Diversity Week" at the end of next month. This was the first event of a two-week-old GSA!
  • Tennessee:
  • I made stickers that said "Stop The Hate…Day Of Silence…Stop The Silence." Over 50 people wore them and took the vow of silence.
  • Texas:
  • We used tape and shirts to convey our message across the school. We had a huge sign that we put on display in the main hallway and every time I walked by it, people were stopping to read. We also had stickers and buttons.

  • I organized an official moment of silence in my first period class. It lasted one minute and, while it was going on, I presented a slide show which explained why I was not going to be talking for the rest of the day. By the end of the day I had seven people who kept their silence, 34 people wearing shirts and a few teachers who gave me extra credit for organizing something so important! We broke the silence at 2:30p.m. in one of the schools main halls by yelling "stop anti-gay discrimination" I also put the free sticky notes mailed to me on everyone’s car in the student parking lot and in the girls restrooms!
  • Utah:
  • We stayed silent and let all the administrators and teachers know what we were doing...and it turned out great.
  • Virginia:
  • I passed out Speaking Cards, ribbons, and participated in a debate with students before and after school.

  • We got administrative approval five weeks ago. We had a training at a faculty meeting four weeks ago. We had three after school student meetings (students had to attend one). We had a great Day of Silence. We had a great Breaking the Silence get together after school (pizza).
  • Washington:
  • I had a sign up book and a list of "participators" and "supporters". Participants wore rainbow ribbons; [they] were silent and had Speaking Cards. Supporters wore purple ribbons.

  • My school's GSA planned the Day of Silence - we put together cards with little rainbows for those who planned to participate. We also decided ahead of time, that we would break the silence on DOS during lunch time to have a discussion about how DOS was going for each of us.

  • We organized just the basic silent protest, including ribbons, cards, posters, an explanation in the school bulletin, and a booth. Both teachers and students were involved.

  • I was in charge of many things for April 18. I talked to the superintendent of my school district and to teachers about it. I also had to make the list of participants.