See our video about the Speakers Bureau:
To Request a panel, please fill out the form below.
Who We Are
We are lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and LGBT allies who seek to educate others about the lives of LGBT people by sharing our experiences. Our panels are free and available to all.
Why We Speak
LGBTQIA people are often invisible, and our invisibility allows myths, stereotypes, misinformation, fear, and intolerance to flourish. This leads to harassment, discrimination, and oppression against us. We speak because we believe that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are products of ignorance. By letting people get to know us, we hope to dispel some of the myths, stereotypes, and misinformation present in society about LGBTQIA people. We are committed to breaking the silence by talking with people about our lives.
Where We Speak
We speak to classes, residence halls, and student organizations at UMass Amherst and other campuses. We also speak to social service agencies, schools, religious organizations, and other groups in the local community.
Speaking for the Bureau
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or a LGBT ally and would like to make a difference, the Speakers Bureau may be for you. Speaking can be both personally rewarding and a way to serve the LGBT community. Training is provided and internship credit is available.
What We Do
When asked to speak, we start off by briefly telling our "story"--how we realized we were LGBTQIA, how our sexual orientation or gender identity has affected our lives, etc. Then we open the floor for questions and discussion. We answer personal questions (but can decline to respond if they are too personal), as well as address broader LGBTQIA issues. We keep the atmosphere relaxed, open, and informal.
What People Are Saying
- "It was totally honest. I don't think anything gets better than that." (audience participant)
"I feel a stronger sense of self and of perhaps having, somewhere along the way, made a little difference." (speaker on the bureau)
"As an instructor, these issues can be very difficult to deal with in the classroom. Bringing the panel in was the most effective presentation I’ve seen to really engage these issues." (UMass Amherst professor)
"I feel good about who I am and speaking on the bureau just feels like the right thing for me to be doing right now." (speaker on the bureau)
"Bravo! Keep doing what you are doing. I admire your courage to speak so honestly about your lives. I have a lot of respect for you. Thank you." (audience participant)