LGBT history inclusion focus of ‘Day of Silence’

CHICAGO -- Students around the country – and in Chicago – recognized the national “Day of Silence” Friday and vowed not to speak in school to draw attention to what they say is the ignoring of gay history in schools.

Advocates say, the effort to tell the full story LGBTQ is often silenced in schools, where a noteworthy person’s sexuality is frequently ignored.

“It is one of the largest days of student activism, where students really the world over take a vow of silence to spotlight those who don’t feel safe or comfortable being out about their identities or whose voices have been silenced by just being erased,” said Nat Duran of the  Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

This year, the day comes as an effort is underway in the Illinois legislature to pass a bill that would require public schools in the state to teach a unit on LGBT history.

If the bill becomes law, Illinois would join California as the only states to require an LGBT inclusive curriculum.

But opponents from Christian groups including the Illinois Family Insatiate say there’s no need for a bill – or a “day of silence.”

The bill would require elementary and high school students to study gay history – but local school boards would determine how much time is spent on the subject. The bill is awaiting a vote in the Illinois house.