Monday, August 14, 2017
The silencing effect of discrimination will be brought to light this Friday 18 August as students and organisations around New Zealand – like Family Planning - participate in and support this year’s Day of Silence.
Some people choose to take an actual vow of silence, while others (like us) will share how they will be breaking the silence to bring attention to the harmful effects of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and harassment in schools.
This year's theme is about unlearning - questioning our preconceived ideas and opinions so we can see them from a new angle and perhaps come to a new conclusion. Questions such as: Why do I think this? Is it true? What do others think?
We know that transgender people, and those who are attracted to the same or both-sex are much more likely to experience discrimination, bullying and violence. And when people face bullying because of their identity, they are more likely to self-harm, attempt suicide and experience depression.
The goal of Day of Silence is to make schools safer for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation of gender identity/expression – and to let those who do experience discrimination know they are not alone.
Check out our guide of ways that you can be an ally to the LBGTQI community.
Listen to people. Find out about the lives of people with diverse sexualities and genders and what their communities want and need. Build relationships and get to know them.
Work with people and groups. Support the work of diversity groups and people working to stop discrimination.
Educate yourself. Read, listen, talk – don’t expect queer and trans people to educate you.
Use inclusive language. Use partner instead of boyfriend/girlfriend. Be aware of making assumptions about gender.
Stand up to people who are discriminating against others. For example if you hear someone say ‘that’s so gay’ you could respond with: what did you mean by that? Are you suggesting being gay is a bad thing? I find that offensive, can you use something else?
Ask about policies and school rules. Talk to people - conversations can start change.
It is ok to feel uncomfortable and make mistakes. Being an ally sometimes means we look differently at our own lives. This is ok. Mistakes when being an ally are ok! Apologise, learn from them and keep being an ally!
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.