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Some D.C. schools participating in ‘Day of Silence’

Friday’s event spotlights anti-LGBT harassment, violence

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Day of Silence, Silent March for Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence, gay news, Washington Blade
Day of Silence, Silent March for Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Hundreds of D.C. college students will tape their mouths shut on April 11, pledging to remain silent in an effort to generate awareness about anti-LGBT bullying.

They’ll be joining thousands of others nationwide in the Day of Silence, organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), as part of a battle to bring the problem of hate crimes in schools to light.

“The Day of Silence is all about remembering that even though we have the privilege of being at a progressive school, not everyone on this campus has the ability to come out,” said Tyler Bowders, executive director of American University Queers and Allies, which is coordinating the Day of Silence there.

Students will be given placards to hand out to their professors, friends and bosses to explain why they have promised not to speak for the entire day.

At American, the Day of Silence is the culmination of a full week of advocacy events, which include free HIV testing and “trans 101 training” in conjunction with the university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Last year, at least 100 people — both straight and gay students — participated in Pride Week events, which have been held on American’s campus for the past three years. The event has steadily gained traction and will likely have a turnout of about 150 people this year, Bowders said.

Georgetown University’s LGBT organization, GUPride, has also pledged to participate in Day of Silence. There, the day will culminate with GenderFunk, the university’s annual drag ball. George Washington University’s Allied in Pride, which held a drag competition earlier in the year to benefit the Trevor Project, an organization focused on LGBT suicide prevention, does not have events planned this week.

The Day of Silence got its start 1996 at the University of Virginia. Today, it is the “largest single student-led action toward creating safer schools for all,” with student activists at more than 8,000 middle schools, high schools and colleges participating, according to the group’s website.

The day of action has spurred controversy, drawing ire from religious conservative groups like Focus on the Family. In response, the group created an annual Day of Dialogue in 2011 aimed at having conversations about what they call God’s plan for human sexuality.

The event, usually scheduled on the same week as Day of Silence, has been derided by supporters of the LGBT rights movement as a publicity stunt.

For some college students — even those living in D.C., known for its large LGBT population — events drawing attention to bullying, discrimination and the difficulty of the coming out process are deeply personal.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t think the event is necessary since this is an accepting campus,” Bowders said, explaining that many students live openly gay lifestyles at college, but might not be out to their family and friends back at home.

“What they should realize is that being silent can be impactful,” he said. “You’re forgoing your voice symbolically to commemorate those who metaphorically and quite literally lose their voice every day.”

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

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Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

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