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The Daily Agenda for Friday, April 19

Jim Burroway

April 19th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
National Day of Silence: Everywhere. The National Day of Silence is a day when students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2009 National School Climate Survey, nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.

The first Day of Silence was organized by students at the University of Virginia in 1996. They were inspired by a class assignment on non-violent protests, and over 150 students participated. In 1997, the Day of Silence went national, with nearly 100 colleges and universities participating. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event, as the event has spread to high schools and junior highs.

The Day of Silence web site has important information and resources for those who are participating, and Lambda Legal has put together a pamphlet (PDF: 568KB/3 pages) detailing your legal rights in connection with your participation in the observance. Anti-gay activists have been very busy putting out tons of misinformation about the observance. You can find out the truth behind the misinformation here. If you are a student in a U.S. K-12 school and feel like your rights are not being respected, please click here to let GLSEN know.

Events This Weekend: AIDS Walk, Binghamton, NY; Philadelphia Black Pride; Philadelphia, PA; Christopher Street Day, Potsdam, Germany; Tallahassee Pride, Tallahassee, FL.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Dick Sargent: 1930. His best known role was that of the second Darrin in the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, after having taken over that role in 1969 when Dick York was forced to leave due to ongoing health problems. It was a fortuitous second chance for Sargent: he was the producers’ first choice for the role in 1964 but was forced to turn it down because he was under contract with Universal Studios to appear in the short-lived sitcom Broadside, a WWII comedy about four girls on an island with 4,000 sailors. (Hilarity allegedly ensued, but only for one season.) Before he got his second chance at Bewitched, Sargent appeared in several films and television programs which helped pad his resume with a growing list of solid if not particularly memorable roles.

He never really made it onto the A-list, but he did have a solid run opposite Elizabeth Montgomery as America’s favorite put-upon mortal. And what a strange, gay time he must have had on the set, with openly-flamboyant Paul Lynde as practical-joker Uncle Arthur and the closeted and conflicted Agnes Moorhead as Endora (a character whose style and sarcasm deserves unceasing genuflections of drag queens everywhere.) The series ended in 1972 and immediately went into syndication for whole new generations to enjoy. Meanwhile, Sargent kept working in minor roles and voiceovers for commercials and cartoons.

In 1974, Sargent appeared with lesbian Fannie Flagg (see Sept 21) in the game show Tattletales, in which Hollywood couples would try to guess each others’ answers to embarrassing questions about marriage, sex, or other coupley topics. They were, ostensibly, “dating” for the game show’s purposes. Sargent finally came out on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 1991, over concerns about high suicide rates among gay teens. He revealed that when he was a student at Stanford he twice tried to kill himself when he realized he was gay. The following summer, he was Grand Marshall of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade alongside his former Bewitched co-star and forever friend, Elizabeth Montgomery. He became involved with the AIDS Project Los Angeles and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Sargent died in 1994 of prostate cancer.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Comments

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JohnAGJ
April 19th, 2013 | LINK

I loved that show Bewitched growing up! I’d heard that Sargent was gay but didn’t know about his coming out. He may not have been an A-lister but he made me smile and enjoy his work for which I thank him. Ditto to Samantha, Uncle Arthur and Endora. :-)

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