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    • Student volunteers and singers pose after the Day of Silence Assembly.

Hopkins Honors Day of Silence

Anjali Subramanian ’22
On April 12, the Hopkins community started off the day with an Assembly presentation led by Sexuality and Gender Advocates (SAGA) heads, Lexi Dawson ’20 and Fi Schroth-Douma ’19, to honor the Day of Silence.
Student volunteers shared paintings, personal stories, videos, and songs including “Wilde woman” by Lucius and “1950” by King Princess. Students shared anonymous stories written by members of the Hopkins community who talked about struggles with their identity. Adrian Horsley ’20, who shared a speech about their struggles with identity, said, “Listening to the singing was lovely, and I appreciate watching kids pay attention.”

Members of the Hopkins community had the option to stay silent for the day to honor LGBTQ+ folks who cannot share their identity. At 3:35 pm, the students who chose to stay silent for the day gathered on the Big H and broke the silence with a unifed scream. The scream caused Amelie Khiar ’22 to “think how hard it would be to stay silent for a day, and how hard it must be for people in less fortunate situations to be quiet for their entire lives.”

Later that same day, the Pride Prom dance with music, games, and food took place. Students who wished to attend were encouraged to “bring a partner of the same gender” and to “dress in drag.” Pride Prom was a time to celebrate with friends. Horsley thought of Pride Prom as “more like a party than a school dance.”

When planning for the Day of Silence, members of the Hopkins community discussed ways to increase activism, while still following the traditional actions, such as staying silent, that are done in other schools on the Day of Silence. James Gette, an advisor for SAGA, said, “SAGA has had a lot of discussions over the past couple of years about the virtues of a Day of Silence versus a Day of Action. The catch 22 of Day of Silence is that the people who are in the best position to answer questions people have on that day, are also the most likely to be silent. This problem, coupled with an emphasis on concrete (rather than performative) activism, has led the club to have a Day of Action in the past. However, for th past two years, members preferred the audible impact and chance for refection that a Day of Silence allows.”

LGBTQ+ issues have improved, but there are still major issues in the community. According to SAGA head, Schroth-Douma, “The biggest challenge that LGBTQ+ youth face in the U.S. is the risk of homelessness and struggles with mental health, in cases of unaccepting families. Around the world, there are over seventy countries in which LGBTQ+ people are breaking the law just by existing; if they live as themselves, they risk not only legal punishment, but violence and hate crimes.”

Schroth-Douma encourages others to educate themselves on sexuality and gender, and to “make a commitment today to be an LGBTQ+ ally, meaning that you will do your best to listen, understand, and actively support the LGBTQ+ community.” There are still many issues the world is yet to overcome regarding mental health, homelessness, and laws on sexuality, but as Schroth-Douma says, “You are not alone; there will always be people who love and support you.”
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