Why GLSEN is no longer staying quiet on the Day of Silence

GLSEN is no longer staying silent on this famous protest day.

April 12 would technically be GLSEN’s Day of Silence, an initiative that the LGBTQ+ organization, dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools, used to encourage advocates and allies to remain silent for a day to protest exclusionary policies. But with the introduction of over 480 anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the United States, GLSEN is taking a different approach to protest this year. With legislation silencing LGBTQ+ folks around the country, GLSEN is urging LGBTQ+ people and allies to make their voices heard on the Day of (No) Silence.

Instead of staying quiet through silent protest, GLSEN is encouraging LGBTQ+ youth, educators, and allies to make their voices heard and to take action against rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in the United States.

“Education is the cornerstone of our democracy, yet it’s under attack by those with the loudest voices pushing hateful agendas, using trans and queer students as pawns,” GLSEN’s Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jagger said.

Introduced by University of Virginia students Maria Pulzetti and Jessie Gilliam, the Day of Silence was a student-led protest organized in 1996. Modeled after peaceful and non-violent protests, and inspired by former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, Pulzetti and Gilliam urging peers to go through the school day without speaking to protest exclusionary policies. In 2001, GLSEN adopted the initiative and now they’re revamping it to reflect the growing need for LGBTQ+ voices to be heard.

“From bathroom bans to book bans, the attacks on our education system are relentless and widespread,” Willingham-Jagger said. “It’s on us, as adults, to rise up for every child’s right to a safe and inclusive education. That’s why this year, we refuse to remain silent. We’re rising together, using our collective voices to fight back against these injustices. While some students are silenced by censorship laws or unsafe school environments, if you can, I urge you to join us. Speak up, vote, use your platform, and support GLSEN programs. Together, let’s build a future where every student can thrive.” 

Unfortunately, anti-LGBTQ+ bills sweeping the nation are preventing that future from happening. Since the introduction of Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay,” 192 bills targeting student and educator rights have followed. The need for legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for transgender and nonbinary youth, is imperative.

“I remember the joy I felt being affirmed by my teachers and administrators in high school,” GLSEN National Student Council Alumni Ambassador Eris Robinson said. “We had Pride flags, Safe Space stickers and adults who would call out homophobia and hate. My teachers used the right names and pronouns for everyone because when they said they cared about us, they acted on it. Supporting LGBTQ+ youth is as simple as using your platform, using your vote, using your time, and using your resources to take action on April 12th, and beyond.”

With the 2024 presidential election quickly approaching, GLSEN’s Day of (No) Silence is a reminder to the LGBTQ+ community and allies that making your voice heard is a necessity to protect and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. In order to participate in the Day of (No) Silence, check out GLSEN’s resources and instructions below to guide LGBTQ+ youth, educators, advocates and allies throughout this historic day.

Use Your Vote

Share Student Stories and Resources on Social Media

  • Follow GLSEN on social media
  • Share posts, stories, videos, and resources on your platforms on the Day of (No) Silence
  • Rise up and take action by not staying silent online on April 12th

Share Your School Story

LGBTQ+ Youth: Participate in the National School Climate Survey

Educators: Create an Inclusive Classroom with the Rainbow Library

Participate in the Rainbow Writes Writing Contest

  • LGBTQIA2S+ Youth: Express your creativity in the Rainbow Writes contest! Fight the book bans and censorship by writing the story that you want to read
  • Educators and Adults: Encourage Young Writers to Submit!
  • Participate in #WritingPromptWednesday! Every Wednesday, check out our social media for a new and engaging writing prompt

Use Your Vote

Register to Vote

  • Make sure your voice is heard by registering to vote
  • Encourage friends and family to do the same

Call for Updated Policies to Protect LGBTQ+ Youth

Use Your Time

Host an Event

Join an Event

  • Attend an event at your local Chapter

Volunteer at Your Local GLSEN Chapter

Use Your Resources


  • Donate to GLSEN to help us mobilize for safe and inclusive schools across the country

Buy Merch

Start a Fundraiser

  • Create a fundraising page and raise money to support LGBTQ+ youth in schools
  • Share your fundraising page with friends, family, colleagues, and allies

For more information, visit www.glsen.org and follow them on Instagram @glsen for live updates on the Day of (No) Silence.

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