There is a saying that “silence is golden.”
For members of Alliance, Butler University’s student-led LGBTQ advocacy group, silence can also be powerful.
For the entire day of April 20, Butler students are encouraged to participate in a day of silence in order to raise awareness for the fight against bullying in the LBGTQ community both on and off campus.
Heather Iwinski, Alliance’s secretary and a junior communication sciences and disorders major, said this day is important because thousands of school-aged children are affected by bullying because they are homosexual or are perceived to be homosexual.
“Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is nothing to be ashamed of,” Iwinski said via email. “I think it’s disgusting people are teased for being who they are.”
Iwinski said that a person’s sexuality is not a choice and that others must be more aware of the negative impact bullying has on a person.
Chelsea Carroll, who is not a member of the LGBTQ community, has three best friends who are and said she knows what it is like to watch them have to pretend that being made fun of and bullied does not hurt them.
“It really hurts them,” said Carroll, a sophomore early and middle school education major said.
Taylor Meador, Alliance president and junior English literature major, said that even though the issue of bullying may not be an issue on Butler’s campus, it must not be written off.
“As citizens and educated students, we must be concerned with our at-risk youth, a large part of which consists of LGBTQ youth,” Meador said via email. “We have to provide a voice or, in this instance, an impact that others may be unable to.”
This impact goes beyond just April 20.
Beginning with the Day of Silence, Alliance will host “Proud to BU” week.
Iwinski said the focus of the week is to encourage people to be the most authentic version of themselves.
“It’s about being proud to be gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual, asexual, whatever,” Iwinski said. “Our goal is to foster an understanding environment where people are able to love someone as a person even if they do not agree with their lifestyle.”