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Straight Talk Speakers Bureau

An Educational Service provided by the LGBT Resource Center

Do you have questions about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues?

  • What makes people gay?
  • How did your parents react?
  • I think my friend is gay. What should I do?
  • When did you decide to come out?
  • Do you want to have children?

Invite us in.  Ask us.

What is the Speakers Bureau?

The Straight Talk Speakers Bureau is made up of NIU students and others who volunteer to speak about their experiences as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals, or heterosexual allies. The Speakers Bureau is available to speak for student groups, in classes, in residence halls, or for other appropriate engagements.

What is the purpose of the Speakers Bureau?

Many people have questions about what it is like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Often they have never had an opportunity to ask these questions, or they have never felt comfortable asking what they really want to know. That's why we provide trained speakers who answer questions as part of an open, informed discussion. Our goal is to offer opportunities for increased communication and understanding, which may help counter the myths and stereotypes that contribute to ignorance and prejudice. We also hope to reach out to other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who may feel alone and isolated. For many of the audiences we encounter, our speaking engagements may be their first opportunity to learn about the very human side of controversial issues.

What are the speaking engagements like?

Generally, each engagement includes a panel of 2 to 5 individuals who will begin the presentation by introducing themselves and sharing some information about their own backgrounds. The panelists then open the floor for questions from the audience, engaging audience members in an interactive discussion. Our speakers can cover a wide variety of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as:

  • homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identity
  • "coming out" to family and friends
  • safer sex
  • religious beliefs and attitudes
  • discrimination
  • same-sex marriage
  • current "hot" topics in the media
  • how heterosexual people can be supportive allies

Who are the speakers?

Our speakers are trained volunteers who are willing to share their experiences as people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or heterosexual allies. These individuals have volunteered to be resources for groups or classes who wish to learn about and discuss issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity. They speak powerfully from their own experiences, and have participated in a training workshop to prepare them for giving public presentations.

How do I request a panel presentation?

Our ability to fulfill requests is dependent on the availability of speakers. For scheduling purposes, we ask that you contact us at least two weeks in advance of your event. Additional lead time increases the likelihood that we will be able to accommodate your request.

To request a panel presentation, please see our online Speaking Engagement Request Form in the Quick Links section above.

Can I be a part of the Speakers Bureau?

Interested students and Ally Program volunteers can apply to be a part of the Speakers Bureau. When trainings are scheduled, you can submit our online Speakers Bureau Application Form in the Quick Links section above. When there are no current trainings scheduled, you can submit a Speakers Bureau Interest Form in the Quick Links section above to be informed of future training opportunities.