Day of Silence Countdown: t-minus 2 days

23 04 2008

First of all, I have no idea why the wordpress date function is iffy. Well, actually, I do, I just don’t know whether it’s fixed or not. Anyway, in case you were wondering, it’s the evening of Wednesday, April 23rd as I write this.

Only two more (okay more like, one and a half) days until the moment I’ve been waiting for. I am so excited it is unbelievable. Well, for those of you who don’t know, here’s how my day’s going to work on Friday:

8:00 to 9:00 A.M.: Day of Silence Prep. Hand out speaking cards, ribbons, and optional tape (you know, over the mouth) to Day of Silence participants.

9:00 A.M to 11:45 A.M.: Me, not talking. Weird, huh?

11:45 A.M. to 12:45 P.M.: Silent Lunch. Me, still not talking.

12:45 P.M. to 3:20 P.M.: More of me not talking. And likely being mercilessly mocked by my right-wing law teacher.

3:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. (approx): Breaking the Silence. Collective scream, debriefing, music, poetry, and munchies. What could be better?

5:15 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. (wild guess): A loosely organized after-party. Getting either sushi or Vietnamese food at a nearby restaurant. Yummy.

Jealous yet?

All kidding aside, the upcoming Day of Silence has made me think a lot. About a lot of things. Specifically, identity and community.

I tend to prefer the term “queer/trans” to the acronym, “LGBT”, because it’s a lot more inclusive. Although I have seen attempts to expand the acronym (sometimes, into something quite long), I always feel like we’re missing someone or something. For me, personally, LGBT isn’t that good a fit, because I define myself as “queer” rather than as lesbian. I have no problems with anyone defining themselves as the latter, but for me, personally, if you must pigeonhole me, I’m mostly “L” with some “B” tendencies. A 90-10 ratio I suppose. Still, I can’t help feeling like the acronym marginalizes me, as well as other people with more fluid sexualities and gender identities. And a lot of people who might have previously identified themselves as bisexual, identify as pansexual or omnisexual to recognize the fact that there are more than two genders. And a lot of people who are gender-variant don’t necessarily identify as trans, but in terms of gender, they still fall under the umbrella of “queer”. Where would a crossdresser fit? A partner of a trans person, who once considered themself straight, but stayed with their partner after transition? Someone who is mostly attracted to people of the other biological sex, but has “atypical” sexual preferences?

One of the things that’s been really disheartening lately is the tendency of some people in the “LGBT” community to shun others for not being part of their definitions of L, G, B, or T. As if to say, “Get the hell out of my community! Start your own damn movement!” And I find that quite sad. To me, the queer/trans community represents anyone who has an identity or preferences outside the norm when it comes to sexuality or gender. And anyone else who wants to come along, for that matter. Allies too! Really, when it comes to fighting for our rights – all of our rights – we need all the help we can get, so throwing others under the bus for not being part of our narrow definition of “community” is really not helpful.

One thing that struck me about the Day of Silence group, all 40 or so of them, is how diverse a group it is. Queer, straight, male, female, possibly other. All different races, ethnic groups and religions. Some students with disabilities. It wasn’t a homogenous group, by any stretch of the imagination. Well, except for the fact that they’re all high school students, which is self-evident.

I consider all of them part of my “community”. Because, on April 25th, we’ll all be fighting for the same thing.

(edited to fix confusing typo)

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4 responses

24 04 2008
bint alshamsa

I’m perfectly okay with however someone chooses to expand this acronym. Anyone who wants to show solidarity with me is welcome wherever I am. I am always pleasantly surprised when those who I wouldn’t automatically consider to be disabled openly choose to be identified as such.

24 04 2008
Zula

My college organized our Day of Silence several weeks ago because we’re on spring break this week and it doesn’t make as much of an impact when you’re just hanging around home with your family. Which makes sense, but it’s kind of a bummer that we couldn’t join this nationwide act of silence. We were a little bubble of quiet.

I also like “queer” as an umbrella term. It doesn’t leave anybody out. 🙂

1 05 2008
Lyndsay

I think I’ve always seen it as LGBTQ. Trans/queer works too. Have you had lots of people ask you what queer means? People do have a tendency to want to put people into a box and label them as one clear thing.

3 05 2008
Brianne

You are completely correct.

I just wish I could be there that day. It would be just wonderful to get away from the stupid wall that being in a catholic school creates.

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