School is second to home, we’ve all learned to accept and do so with pride. School is where we learn how to ‘behave’, socialising with people, our friends, and teachers from different backgrounds, where we learn, that diversity is a strength.
School is also a space where the identity of a child can be encouraged or suppressed depending on the status quo of the society of the time. In this way, schools are often places where ‘undesirable’ traits in an individual are repressed and punished as well. Although there are those who argue, that this is the only way one can create a ‘uniform’ society, this breeds homogeneity and discourages difference- eventually weakening the individual in the society.
The Day of Silence was first organised in the United States by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in a hope to bring awareness on the effects that harassment and discrimination by the students, school authorities and policies have on the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals in the USA. Held since the April of 1996, students in schools hold a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQIA+ students in educational institutions. The Day of Silence is observed today, on the 27th of April this year.
Amala Antony for Gaysi has this year, designed a series of illustrations that point out some of the issues we face in educational institutions within India, creating a hateful and phobic environment for children and young adults that belong to the queer community- leading in yearly rising suicide rates, violence and self-harm.
We hope to do our bit in raising awareness among authorities to create queer-friendly spaces at school and in college for children who are, just children who deserve to have fun and play.