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SpeakOUT Announces LGBTQIA Speaker Training

Friday Apr 21, 2017

SpeakOUT Boston, the nation's oldest LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual) and ally speakers bureau, will hold its Spring Speaker Training on Saturday, April 22, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

"Our trainings give people an opportunity to tell their story and become engaged in the community in a very personal way," said Executive Director Ellyn Ruthstrom. "With the political atmosphere so negative right now, many people are looking for ways to make a difference and to stand up and speak out. Our trainings offer people a way to hone their speaking skills and make a positive impact in their community. SpeakOUT works to improve the climate in schools, workplaces, faith communities, and within the programs and services that LGBTQIA people need to access throughout their lives."

As a community of speakers, SpeakOUT's mission is to work to create a world free of homo-bi-transphobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. For 45 years, SpeakOUT has provided training in public speaking to build the skills of its volunteer speaker network. Speakers visit corporate settings such as Gillette and Amica; community organizations such as the Samaritans and FamilyAid Boston; as well as public and private schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the region.

The training, based on a proven format of sharing stories and answering questions, gives attendees an intensive preparation for conducting speaking engagements. Participants learn valuable skills, such as setting the right tone, shaping and telling a story, overcoming fear, working with your co-speaker, and answering difficult questions.

It's also a wonderful bonding experience to share personal stories and validate the complexity of our experiences together. Once training is complete, participants choose engagements that best fit their schedule, whether it be weekdays, evenings, or weekends. Trainees are not obligated to speak for SpeakOUT and many participants take the training as a way to grow personally and professionally.

"SpeakOUT wants to fully represent the diversity of lived experience of the LGBTQIA community in our interactions with the public," Ruthstrom added. "We especially encourage people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming people, people of faith, and those under 30 to consider joining us for the training. With the state referendum approaching in 2018 that will attempt to strike down protections for transgender citizens, we take it very seriously to have a well-trained membership ready to discuss important issues to our community."

SpeakOUT's Spring Speaker Training will be held at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston on Saturday, April 22, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided. Training is $75, with a special reduced rate of $35 for seniors and students. Group rates and need-based reductions are also available. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.

SpeakOUT Boston is the nation's first gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual and ally speakers bureau. Since 1972, our mission has focused on creating a world free of homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of people's lives. Today, our membership includes more than 100 volunteer speakers.

We conduct informal, interactive speaking engagements in settings like high schools, colleges, businesses, religious classes, and community service organizations. Sharing our lives and experiences publicly helps us support those struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identity -- and helps us dispel stereotypes to create positive cultural change.

For more information or to register, visit


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