L G B T   C a m p u s   O r g a n i z i n g
in contemporary American society.
The underlying, guiding principle of the
Despite the fact that it seems almost
speakers bureau is that the lgbt communi 
impossible not to be exposed to lgbt
ty is highly diverse, and that we are all
issues in  the Gay 90's,  the continued
individuals.  As anyone who has attended
prevalence of media stereotypes and the
a major national political march or a
fact that many heterosexuals still may not
political discussion of any size can attest,
know, or know that they know, a lgbt per 
no two lgbt people are exactly the same,
son results in a continuation of fear, con 
nor are they likely to have had the same
fusion and misinformation regarding lgbt
experiences or share the same viewpoints
regarding their sexual orientation or relat 
ed issues.  Speakers bureau members
A speakers bureau usually consists of a
panel of trained volunteers who are will 
ing to speak about their lives and experi 
Research has shown that one
of the best ways to reduce
ences.  These panels can be held in a vari 
someone s homophobia is
ety of settings, including residence halls,
for them to have direct con 
classes, student organization meetings,
tact with lgbt people.
fraternity or sorority houses, schools,
churches, workplaces and other locations
off campus.  A panel may consist of three
speak from an individual or  I  perspec 
to four speakers representing the lgbt
tive with respect for the opinions, view 
community's diversity as much as possi 
points and experiences of other panel
ble.  It is essential to strive for a panel
that will represent as diverse a group as
possible with respect to race, ethnicity,
Goals of the Speakers Bureau
religion, age, background, past experi 
1. To provide accurate information to
ences with coming out and sexual orien 
contradict heterosexist myths and stereo 
tation.  It is often a good idea to include a
heterosexual ally on the panel as well.
2. To answer people's questions from
Research has shown that one of the best
each member's personal perspective,
ways to reduce someone s homophobia is
thereby representing the rich diversity of
for them to have direct contact with lgbt
the lgbt community;
people.  Heterosexual allies also provide
those attending a panel with the opportu 
3. To provide positive representations of
nity to better understand how homopho 
the lgbt community and of supportive
bia and heterosexism diminish the quali 
ty of life for all people, and can provide
important role models.  The most impres 
4. To advocate for the civil rights of lgbt
sive aspect of the speakers bureau is its
people; and
proven success at providing many of
those attending with an entirely new per 
5. To develop a sense of power and pride
spective on lgbt people.  The speakers
for speakers bureau members.
bureau is also inspiring to many closeted
lgbt people, particularly youth who are
struggling with their sexual orientation.  
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B u i l d i n g   a   H e a l t h y   O r g a n i z a t i o n


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