North supports the LGBTQ+ community by holding a Day of Silence

Angie Twombly, Editor-in-Chief

Students and staff of North High School participated in a Day of Silence in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) community on April 21, 2023.  

The National Day of Silence is a campaign held in April each year that seeks to shed light on what the LGBTQ+ community goes through daily, according to  

English teacher Syd McNeal became involved with the Gender Sexual Alliance (GSA) club this year. They held meetings, big events and organized the Day of Silence. 

McNeal first came out as bisexual in 2021, and just this year they came out as non-binary and transgender. They noticed that with becoming more open and comfortable in their identity, it has had a positive impact on students.  

McNeal recognizes the National Day of Silence at North as a tradition and after the anti-trans legislation protest, they felt the cause held momentum within the school. 

After getting the event approved by building administration, McNeal sought out students who were willing to share details and also present in front of Viking Time classes to spread the news. 

In previous years some students have faced backlash, and negative comments so when it came to making presentations, they were not too eager. 

McNeal instead reached out to other English teachers and asked them to share details of the event and find kids who would be interested in signing up. 

“Every student has English, and knowing my department, I felt most of them would do it,” McNeal said. 

When taking a vow of silence, McNeal recognized it could be difficult for some students, so they suggested students wear rainbow instead to show their support. 

Around 69 students signed up to participate in the National Day of Silence. Knowing this McNeal ordered 1,300 rainbow stickers, and 50 mini pride flags that they passed out to students before class. Students were also able to visit them during the day to grab a sticker or flag. 

Unfortunately, before the school day started McNeal, and many students faced backlash from a protester. Students were also faced with being called discriminating names when they were promoting the Day of Silence, as well as some teachers made rude comments towards the queer community. 

“I felt more determined to show up for our queer students,” McNeal said. 

Angered, McNeal sent an email to teachers, providing them with a list of students who signed up, and explained why it is crucial to support students, any, and every day.  

McNeal hopes that one day they, and other students can feel as if North is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Until then, I will keep doing my best to be a safe space, promote acceptance, and be my unapologetically queer self,” McNeal said.