Always in the second half of April to the country commits in the United States the day of silence or American National Day of Silence: often only GLSEN Day of Silence. In 2021, this day of action in the United States will fall on April 23rd and accordingly, this article of the calendar of curious holidays from around the world is intended to tell the story of this event. So why should we be silent today?
GLSEN Day of Silence: An act of symbolic silence as a sign of solidarity
Even if the name initially seems to go in the direction of noise avoidance and quiet, the name is to be understood more metaphorically. The National Day of Silence is an annual day of action by the US Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which has been protesting against verbal and physical discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender at schools and universities since 1996. In other words, a symbolic act of silence is supposed to lead to solidarity.
Who started the American National Day of Silence?
The day of silence was brought to life that year by student Maria Pulzetti and her fellow students at the University of Viginia in Charlottesville. The content of the National Day of Silence is therefore much closer to the day of bisexuality (English Celebrate Bisexuality Day on September 23), but due to the student initiative also to the day of the banana (English Banana Day) always on the third Wednesday in April and the give-me-five-day (English National High Five Day) always on the third Thursday in April.
Since then, thousands of schoolchildren and students have taken part in this campaign every year. Unfortunately, there is also a massive counter-movement on the part of the US American conservatives, including the Day of Truth, launched in 2005, against the approach of the Day of Silence. One should actually put on the shameful cloak of silence, but unfortunately it is still part of social reality.
When do you celebrate National Day of Silence in the US?
In contrast to many of the other days of action gathered here from the United States with a flexible date, the specific date of the national day of silence in the United States seems to change annually. While the first editions since 1996 have always taken place on a Friday around April 15, from 2011 to 2017 the move was made to set the third Friday in April as a flexible date.
The exception was the year 2014, in which the Day of Silence was set on April 11th – probably also because of the Easter festival. In 2019, too, there will be a deviation from this calendar pattern with April 12th. Unfortunately, in the course of the research for the present article, I was unable to find out what the reason for this decision is.