Middle & High Schools
At least half of our engagements each year are conducted in middle and high schools. The most common formats are either health classes that are learning about sexual orientation and gender identity, or school assemblies that are encouraging their students to be more informed about the LGBTQIA* community. We often have speakers “break the silence” at a school’s Day of Silence observance in April.
"Your presentation to our students was wonderful! You were so eloquent and gentle in your presentations and you were so affirming of our students and helped them to feel comfortable asking anything."
- Catholic High School Teacher, Milton
"I'm a huge fan of SpeakOUT and a regular donor. We have had a number of SpeakOUT speakers come to my school over the years, and every single one has been engaging and enlightening. SpeakOUT has helped to transform Newton South into a safer, more inclusive school community."
- High School Teacher, Newton
"SpeakOUT engagements help bring to life what real LGBTQ people are like. For students who typically form their impressions based on sound-bytes, movies, and TV shows, this is an invaluable educational experience."
- High School Teacher, Lexington
"The personal stories of the presenters connect so well with our students. The audience hears the stories and they have a greater depth of understanding of not only the LGBTQ community but for themselves and their society."
- High School Teacher, Wellesley
Colleges & Universities
Many colleges and universities in the region invite us to speak to sexuality, social work, psychology, or sociology classes. Sometimes we are invited to speak to larger assemblies during diversity/inclusion awareness activities. We also help with Resident Assistant trainings, preparing RAs to be more knowledgeable about the LGBTQIA community.
"The session was outstanding! I heard RAs talking about the session for the rest of the day, asking questions, and very educated in many aspects. I could not have been more pleased."
- Resident Assistant trainer, Framingham State University
"Yesterday was AMAZING! Both speakers were incredible and our (first year students) were very very receptive - huge success."
- Instructor, Boston University
"The speakers gave me a wake-up call that everyone is an individual and should not be judged based on stereotypes."
- College Student, Boston
"Thank you so much for making arrangements for [the speakers] to come speak to my Master’s in Social Work class. They were captivating, honest, and sincere. The students and I walked away from their presentation with such admiration and gratitude for SpeakOUT and its important role in our community."
- College Instructor, Boston
Other venues where we conduct engagements can vary from public library forums to teen sexuality classes for faith communities, and from businesses working to create a safer work climate for LGBTQIA workers to agencies ensuring their staff are culturally sensitive to their LGBTQIA clients.
"As a public library, we want to address contemporary topics by presenting programs that are comprehensive, informative, accurate and that the community can connect to. SpeakOUT has allowed us to consider some topics about which there is a lot of public discourse but not necessarily a lot of knowledge. By engaging with SpeakOUT, the library is able to offer a program that is empathetic and honest."
- Librarian, Southbridge, Massachusetts
"Our speaker gave us background information about what it means to be transgender, defined some terms, described a bit of research on the topic, and then told us her own story, bringing the abstract down to a personal, human level. She opened up to the audience and they opened up to her, leading to numerous questions and a lively discussion."
- Librarian, Nashua, New Hampshire
"The speakers from SpeakOUT have been inspiring to work with and the life journeys they have shared with us are a testament of strength and resiliency in a world not often conducive to tolerance and acceptance of difference. It continues to be a pleasure and a great resource to have SpeakOUT available to us."
- The Samaritans, Boston
"It hasn’t even been an hour since our event ended and I am already getting incredible feedback from so many colleagues. I think the work that you are doing is beyond valuable, especially to an organization like ours. My goal for the year was to move the needle for our LGBT staff and the three of you more than achieved that in only an hour. I personally cannot express my feelings toward you for how much your stories meant to me."
- Corporate Employee Resource Group, Boston
Share Your Experience
Have you recently participated in a SpeakOUT engagement, training or event? Let us know your thoughts about the experience by emailing Ellyn (at) SpeakOUTBoston (dot) org.
*LGBTQIA: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning, intersex, and asexual