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The Day of Silence coming to NZ schools

Sat 31 May 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News

The queer straight alliance network is bringing a national edition of The Day of Silence, a campaign against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools, to New Zealand. The initiative was founded in 1996 at the University of Virginia and now takes place in over 70 countries worldwide. Students pledge to be silent for the day to reflect the silence that many queer and trans people go through about their identity as a direct result of bullying and discrimination. It was first held in New Zealand at Nayland College in Nelson in Nelson. QSA Network Aotearoa is now bringing it to schools across the country on Friday 27 June. "The campaign is about drawing attention to the silencing effect that bullying can have on young people who have a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity," says the network’s chair Tabby Besley. "The idea behind the campaign is to bring attention to the issue so there can then be follow up actions to break the silence - like starting up a queer straight alliance group, or improving sexuality education." Besley points to the Youth 07 report which found gay and bisexual youth are three times more likely than their straight peers to be bullied on a weekly basis. "The effect bullying has is also reflected in the study's statistics concerning levels of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, self-harm and suicide attempts experienced by queer young people," Besley says "It's time students, staff and communities worked together to prevent and stop this bullying, and taking part in the Day of Silence is a great way to get that conversation started." QSA Network Aotearoa encourages everyone to get involved with the campaign by submitting a 'Selfie for Silence' through their website or social media with the hashtag #dayofsilence. The campaign asks "What will you do to break the silence?" People and schools can register and find out more at     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 31st May 2014 - 9:35am

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