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Day of Silence 2015

Day of Silence 2015

Today students across New Zealand will tape their mouths shut to draw attention to the silence surrounding homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying in schools.

“High-school students identifying as LGBTQIA are much more likely to be bullied, feel unsafe, and attempt suicide; the statistics are horrifying,” says InsideOUT National Coordinator Tabby Besley. “But even more horrifying is that the University of Auckland’s Youth 2000 reports show the amount of bullying these young people experience at school has not changed in over a decade.”

InsideOUT are running the Day of Silence campaign for the second time this year, just a week before Besley heads off to London as the first and only New Zealander to receive a Queen’s Young Leader Award for her work creating change for LGBTQIA youth.

“Day of Silence is a way of raising awareness about the struggles young people of diverse sexualities and genders face. It encourages schools and students to work together to break the silence and take actions to make their school a safer place for LGBTQIA youth,” says Besley.

Two weeks ago the Ministry of Education released new curriculum guidelines for health and sexuality education, including suggestions that schools move towards having gender-neutral uniforms, and review options for gender-neutral toilet facilities.

But although InsideOUT welcomed the document, and hoped schools would take up these suggestions, it was concerned that the Ministry’s failure to bind schools to those recommendations undermined their effectiveness.

“Making schools a safe space for gender diverse youth is incredibly important,” says Besley. “When a school imposes a uniform that doesn’t fit with a person’s identity, they’re acting like the student doesn’t matter, and silencing them.”

“This Friday is about breaking that silence.”

Day of Silence is the largest student-driven action for safe schools in the world, with 8,000 schools internationally taking part and almost 40 registered in New Zealand.

InsideOUT encourages everyone to get involved with the campaign by submitting a 'Selfie for Silence' through their website www.dayofsilence.org.nz or on social media with the hashtag #dayofsilence. The campaign asks "What will you do to break the silence?”.

ENDS

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