Friday, April 19 is the National Day of Silence sponsored by GLSEN. It is a day of action in which students across the US vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in schools.
But what can old farts like us do? I would like to invite you into a little immersive experiment.
Be gay for a day.
What do I mean by this? Well, this is a bit of a challenge for my straight friends. Those of you with boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives – for the next 24 hours, imagine that the one you love, the planet around which your heart is in orbit, is someone you can not openly acknowledge in any conversation – anywhere. When you are at work, do not talk about your boyfriend or husband. When you are at lunch, don’t mention the Friday night date you are looking forward to. When you are grabbing that mid-morning coffee, don’t talk about your weekend plans with the wife. When you are walking to your car at the end of the day, don’t talk about how much you’d like to hit a happy-hour if only your husband and kids were not near melt-down waiting for you to get home. When your buds are bitching about how their girlfriends are too emotional or when your friends are mooning over their boyfriends – don’t speak of your own romantic frustrations or longings. If you are recently engaged and planning a wedding – don’t talk about the florist you are consulting or the hors d’oeuvres you are considering. If you are married and happen to have a doctor’s appointment where new paperwork is required, don’t answer the marital status question.
Better yet – when you go out to dinner with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife – don’t hold hands, don’t walk arm in arm – don’t even look too long into one another’s eyes. Glance around nervously to check if people are looking before you rest a mere pinky on her hand across the table. Whatever you do, don’t kiss in public. No matter how overwhelming your affection, your love, your passionate commitment – do not display even an ounce of that when you might make anyone else feel uncomfortable or risk your own safety.
So here it is, a challenge – be gay for a day. Really, really – I invite you to give this a try. For 24 hours beginning on the morning of Friday, April 19 live your every moment as if the people you love are just friends, roommates, strangers and then stop back by this blog and share your thoughts and feelings. Leave a note today if you are willing to take up this challenge then return on Saturday to share any thoughts and feelings from your experience.