Signal boost for a worthy campaign, explained by CN Lester as follows:
The majority of young people who don't fit traditional gender norms are bullied. Bullied in the street, bullied at home, bullied at school – by pupils and teachers.
Gendered Intelligence is a groundbreaking British organization that provides support for gender non-conforming young people – no matter how they identify. Through young people's groups, school training, research and campaigning, they're already making a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of young people.
November 17th-23rd is National Anti-Bullying week here in the UK, and Gendered Intelligence have launched the Stop Our Silence campaign to raise awareness of gender-based bullying, to raise funds to run youth groups, and to show solidarity with all young people who are being silenced because of who they are.
There are two really easy ways that you can help.
1. Friday 21st of November – let's flood Twitter with selfies.
We're so often told that people like us don't exist – that we shouldn't exist – that there's nobody else like us out there. So let's break our silences and celebrate who we are.
Trans, cis, not sure, somewhere in between – everyone is welcome to lend their support. Just take a selfie holding a message:
“I was silent because...”
“They silenced me with...”
“I will never be silent again because...”
“Let's end the silence around gender-based bullying.”
Tweet with the hashtag #StopOurSilence to @GIYouthgroup and we'll keep the images rolling.
2. Stay silent for 24 hours – or sponsor a silence.
Gendered Intelligence members, family and friends are going silent to raise funds – even a small donation makes a hell of a difference. Or do your own sponsored silence? If only 100 people managed to get another 100 people to donate £1 each, GI would have £10,000 to fund their work.
On a personal note – I was badly bullied through school for being queer and trans – it happens so often it's almost a cliché. But it doesn't have to be like that – and Gendered Intelligence are working their arses off to change things.
So lend a hand?
Despite the fact that I don't really like selfies very much. I find them banal, use hide functions on other people's selfies almost automatically, and have never posted one here. But this is a selfie for a cause, so I'll be temporarily suppressing my natural negativity this Friday. Yes, that's this Friday. Get busy cru.
Now I just have to think up some text. Something beginning “I was silent because...” seems appropriate. Because I didn't suffer gender-based bullying at school. Not outward bullying from other people anyway. And that's because I was so completely silent about this stuff.
I've written about my own silence before – see the (rather pathetic) posts ‘Stealth’ (prompted by something CN once tweeted) and ‘14th August 2012’; the answer “Coming Out” in ‘Eight Questions’; and the somewhat happier ‘Second Anniversary’. No, I'm not a particularly good role model for not being silent. I'm still quite silent. Stay silent for 24 hours? Piece of piss ;) . But I don't feel as oppressed by my own silence now.
On the other hand, would I rather not (in hindsight) have been quite so silent as a young gender-variant person? Would I rather today's young people not feel the same need to be silent? Do I wish that no young person (or indeed anybody) suffers... in silence, or because of their silence, or because they're not silent. How many yesses is that? I've lost count.
NB. If you don't use Twitter or social media, selfies can be sent direct to Gender Intelligence.
#StopOurSilence Friday edit – and here's my selfie :)