Shattering the silence of LGBTQ street harassment

24 Apr

April 20th marked the 17th National Day Of Silence, a day to raise awareness of the silence often imposed upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth.

While National Day of Silence sends a powerful message through the lack of voices being heard, it’s our hope that every day people like you will also find the courage in their voice to speak out against harassment.

The kinds of harassment and abuse perpetrated against LGBTQ youth in schools is mirrored in public spaces and venues. The cat calls, taunts, threats, and physical harassment don’t end at the school boundary. Many youth are singled out on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender, in and out of school.

“I don’t know if we get it more, but the level of [harassment] is more intense.”
– LGBTQ youth, Tucson AZ, from a focus group with Safe Streets AZ 

When it comes to street harassment, the need for bystanders  to call out harassers and to openly support their would-be targets may be doubly important. In public spaces –like bus stops, libraries, or streets– most youth lack even the semblance of a support system, and as a result are more vulnerable to harassment. When there are no understanding teachers, friends, hall monitors, or policy to turn to, it is up to individuals like you and me to take a stand.

There is no right/best way to call out street harassment, but here’s a range of ideas on ways to call out harassers and responses, compiled from Holly Kearl’s Stop Street Harassment blog and Hollaback!
Responding To Harassers

More info on DOS:
“Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.” – GLSEN


One Response to “Shattering the silence of LGBTQ street harassment”


  1. The Problem With Catcalling | University of Minnesota Women's Center Blog - November 26, 2012

    […] well aware that street harassment isn’t always performed in a tone meant to be complimentary. The LGBTQ community faces its fair share of street harassment. In a 2012 survey, 90% of 331 men surveyed said that they are sometimes, often, or always harassed […]

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