The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s #Day1 Campaign was created around the idea that no one should be made to feel as though they are worth less than the community around them, regardless of how they look, who they love, or where they’re from. That is why it is it just as important to see #Day1 succeed internationally as well as in our own nation’s schools and workplaces. Everyone around the world deserves to feel respected and safe. However, some countries have norms and even laws that foster bullying and hatred. But we must stay true to the goals for #Day1 while being empathic to those who are in very challenging situations.
In some countries, there are anti-LGBT propaganda laws that directly conflict with the goals and message of the campaign. These laws, claiming to protect children, do harm rather than good as they isolate vulnerable LGBT people and help foster stigmas against them. While these laws make their respective countries prime candidates for the #Day1 program, it also means that promoting the campaign in these countries could be dangerous for people who believe in our campaign but would be putting their lives and freedom at risk by speaking up. In countries like Nigeria, Russia and Pakistan, simply mentioning that anti-LGBT bullying is wrong, could result in prosecution or physical violence. We have learned that #Day1 proponents in Nigeria and Pakistan would like to honor the #Day1 idea while making a statement that is less specific but still not specific of any group. While we respect the political reality in these countries and the risks our leaders are taking, we have asked them to not call a censored version of our campaign, “#Day1.” It isn’t #Day1 unless it addresses a main form of bullying! Instead, we encourage them to make their own statements in ways that are as inclusive as possible.
If I lived in a country where the laws and culture were such that speaking up about LGBT issues could leave me in jail for many years and put me at a high risk of immediate death, I want to believe that I would speak up anyway. But to be really honest, I’m glad that I don’t have to be tested in this way. I want to honor people who take a more gradual approach while we at the Tyler Clementi Foundation stay true to our core values.
Help us get #Day1 (an inclusive#Day1) into schools, workplaces and teams around the world. Creating change where it is safer can begin to lead to change in places where it is more dangerous.
Go here to download the declaration and pledge.
You can also consider donating to#Day1 here.