High School GSA Observes Day of Silence

High School GSA Observes Day of Silence
Posted on 05/01/2017

The Ellenville High School Gay-Straight Alliance took part in a national Day of Silence, vowing not to speak throughout the school day to draw attention to the silencing effect of bullying on LGBT students. 

Members of the GSA, as well as scores of other students not in the club, signed up to participate. Many wore buttons, temporary tattoos, or GSA t-shirts to indicate that they weren’t speaking.

The Day of Silence is observed nationwide by students and was founded by GSLEN, an organization which works to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to GSLEN, eight out of 10 LGTB students face harassment at school. Still more are harassed because they are perceived to be.

“Not being able to talk made me feel very alone,” said Ellenville’s GSA president Bella Ramirez. The sophomore said she hoped that the Day of Silence – which was observed on April 21 - would reassure her LGTB peers that they have allies in the high school, and that it would help them to feel more safe and welcome.

For Bella, the isolation was the most difficult part of her day, and she said it helped her empathize with students who have to keep part of their identity hidden. “You want to be yourself,” she said, “But you can’t be.”

Group photo, GSA members