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Being a SpeakOUT Speaker

SpeakOUT is hosting its Spring Speaker Training on Saturday, April 9th at Suffolk University in Boston. This is the first in-person training since the pandemic, so it will be exciting to spend time together in LGBTQ+ community space. Two of SpeakOUT’s trainers share their memories of how they found SpeakOUT and what the experience of being a speaker has brought to their lives. To find out more about the training or to register, visit the SpeakOUT website.

Trevor Boylston

SpeakOUT’s Impact on My Life

When I signed up for the SpeakOUT training in 2018, I did it to satisfy a development goal for my job. I wanted to learn to be comfortable speaking in front of groups and the thought of taking the internal workshop with co-workers terrified me. Frankly, the thought of speaking in front of anyone made me sick to my stomach. A friend had shared the SpeakOUT registration on his Facebook page and it seemed like a safe space to do what my manager wanted me to do.

What I didn’t expect was the impact SpeakOUT would have on my life. By sharing my story, I’ve been able to unpack memories that were painful and buried deep, almost forgotten. I’ve been able to process the emotions that come with those memories in a productive way, and hopefully have helped other people understand a little more about the LGBTQ+ community with each engagement. I’ve become a better person, a better partner, and a better advocate. I’ve met incredible people with unique stories, many who have become close friends. Without SpeakOUT, my life would be missing something. I’m thankful to be able to give back to SpeakOUT by helping the next group of speakers learn to share their stories by now being a trainer.

Joseph Alcantara

My Story Found a Voice

Just when the world thought that the 2020 pandemic could get the best of me after experiencing loss of a job that I treated as a vocation, loss of residency to a country I once called home and loss of a father who loved me unconditionally for four decades – I found new hope, meaning and redemption instead after I stumbled upon SpeakOUT.

As a new immigrant, married gay man and POC planting new roots in Massachusetts, I was in search of an outlet that would bring me peace as I started anew in an overwhelmingly intersectional life. Being an LGBTQIA+ and AAPI advocate juxtaposed with my passion for communication (writing, public speaking, and social media) was an envisioned path, yet I didn’t have an organized platform and structured approach to bring the self-imposed mission to fruition. After Googling ‘LGBTQ advocacy Boston’ I found one of the sparks of light at the end of the tunnel.

I joined SpeakOUT by sending a bold unsolicited email to its super warm, friendly and welcoming Executive Director, Ellyn Ruthstrom. Next thing I know, I’m attending one of their online Speaker Trainings where I eventually found how my unique coming out story as a gay man could be purposeful. While I knew how to share my authentic life anecdotes, the course was very powerful as it reminded me where to source my core, inspiration and rallying call. As a seasoned corporate speaker, the training also liberated me to unlearn ‘too formal’ habits that overshadow the beauty, sincerity and vulnerability of raw stories that come straight from the heart. The constructive feedback and motivation from the small groups also helped define improvement areas while keeping me empowered in my own narrative.

Today, not only am I an active speaker but also an engaged volunteer for the Training Team, SpeakOUT in Color (the BIPOC social group of the organization), and a new Board Member. Indeed, from a simple training to finding an outlet, my work-in-progress story unfolds as it finds its true voice to make this world a bit better for the folks in the generations to come.