Gay Straight Alliance Participates in GLSEN’s “Day of (No) Silence”


GLSEN’s logo for the 2023 Day of Silence

Fitchburg State University’s Gay Straight Alliance participated in the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) 2023 “Day of (No) Silence.”

According to GLSEN’s official website page about the event, “The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ+ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in schools.”

The first Day of Silence was organized in 1996 by Maria Pulzetti and Jessie Gilliam–two students at the University of Arizona as part of a class project on nonviolent protests. Over 150 University of Arizona students participated that year, and then the next year almost 100 colleges and universities around the country had joined the cause.

In 2001, GLSEN took the reins as the official sponsor of the event, and now, hundreds of thousands of students at more that 8,000 schools across the country participate in the Day of Silence each year, including colleges, universities, high schools, and middle schools.

The Day of Silence historically has involved LGBTQ+ students and allies participating in a “vow of silence” throughout the academic day as a form of protest the impact that bullying and harassment has on LGBTQ+ youth in school environments.

GLSEN allows organizations to register in advance on their website to receive pins for students who want to participate in the event, as well as provide printable postcards and digital infographics that explain what the protest is that students can give to their professors or other faculty members, as well as share online on various social media platforms to raise awareness of the cause and to explain why they won’t be speaking.

This year, as shown by the new name, GLSEN gave students two different ways of participating in the Day of (No) Silence. They could either participate in the same way that has been the case for almost thirty years by taking a vow of silence to demonstrate how LGBTQ+ students’ voices are not properly heard.

Alternatively, they could instead take a vow of NO silence. The point of the vow of NO silence is to use the day to speak up and let their voices be heard, both in real life and in online spaces, about different LGBTQ+ issues that students face every day.

Participating in the day of silence can sometimes be hard for students. They might have an important project or assignment due on that day, extracurricular activities, on-campus jobs, or anything of the sort that the average student might be participating in that requires speaking. Adding the ability for students to opt into a day of NO silence instead increases the odds of people participating.

Most participants on Fitchburg State’s campus opted to participate in the latter of the options this year, using their voices instead of choosing to be silent. Fitchburg State students could be seen walking around campus with GLSEN pins that were handed out by GSA to willing participants and wearing pride-themed outfits on Friday. Overall, they were having a fun and bubbly time representing their community in a positive way to speak out about issues that don’t get covered enough.

For more information about what GLSEN is all about, or how to get involved in the Day of Silence next year, go to